Google’s troubles in China worsened again as its major services were blocked by the Chinese government on Friday.
The ban happened as the Community Party met to appoint its new leaders for the first time in a decade. Google said in a statement to CNN that it had checked its own technology and “there’s nothing wrong on our end.”
The ban shows that companies that espouse the free flow of information aren’t always welcome around the world, and they have to plan for the possibility that they might be shut down at any given moment. Google’s own stats showed a sharp decline in traffic from China, affecting everything from search to Gmail email service. The Google Play mobile app store was also inaccessible from within China. Services returned in some parts of the country on Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The cause of the outage went unexplained. The Chinese Communist Party is in the midst of its 18th National Congress, an event that happens once every decade. GreatFire said that the fact that Google is blocked now isn’t coincidental and the question is whether it will be unblocked after the event.