Google saw its services blocked in China on Friday. GreatFire.org, which monitors Chinese Internet censorship, says it’s the first time since it started tracking it back in February of last year, that this has happened.
The block reportedly includes google.com, mail.google.com, google-analytics.com, docs.google.com, drive.google.com, maps.google.com, play.google.com at least. Users can reportedly still access other country versions, such as google.co.uk.
“The Communist Party of China is currently holding its 18th Party Congress in which new leaders of the party and the country are formally chosen,” the site reports. “The fact that Google is blocked now is surely no coincidence. The big question is whether it will be unblocked again once the congress is over. We will closely monitor developments.”
TheNextWeb shares a statement from Google, which simply says, “We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end.”
Google and China have had a turbulent relationship since at least early 2010, when Google threatened to pull out of the country, before ultimately redirecting Google.cn to its Hong Kong site. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google had “softened” its tone on China, but a spokesperson told WebProNews at the time, “Our position on China remains unchanged,” and that the redirect would remain in place.
Google has still maintained a presence in China, and has continued to operate other parts of its business (like Android) there.