China has blocked access to Wall Street Journal’s local language website, putting the US publication in the same position as Bloomberg and New York Times which are also censored in the country.
Update: Beijing Cream reports that the site is now unblocked, as of August 7.
A check for the Chinese version of WSJ — cn.wsj.com — on monitoring site GreatFire.org shows that the URL is blocked as of this weekend, although access may have first been restricted within the last month. The English-language version of the site remains accessible, suggesting the aim is to disrupt WSJ’s reach in China rather than shut it off entirely.
GreatFire tests the availability of selected URLs once per month and, though it recorded “contradictory” results twice this year, this marks the first instance that WSJ has been unavailable in China.
GreatFire previously broke news of China’s widespread blockage of Google services during the 18th Communist Party Congress last year, and it regularly reports new blocks on websites and services.
Bloomberg was blocked in China in June 2012 while the NYT went dark in October, months after having its Sina Weibo account deleted, after both news companies published investigate reports into high-ranking politicians: Xi Jinping and (ex-
President Prime Minister) Wen Jiabao respectively.
In comparison, it is not entirely clear what WSJ has done to elicit a block, or whether it will be permanent. Access to both the NYT China and main Bloomberg websites remain blocked in China to this day.
It has been an eventful past year for WSJ in China. Like the New York Times, which suffered a four-month long campaign of hacks from what were believed to be Chinese hackers, the Journal came under attack from China’s cyber army.
Owner Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter in February to lament the fact that the attacks were continuing days after WSJ bolstered its network security after its computer systems “had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers for the apparent purpose of monitoring the newspaper’s China coverage”.
China is notorious for blocking a range of Western Web services, including Facebook and Twitter. Google relocated its search service to Hong Kong in 2010 following allegations that the Chinese government hacked into email accounts belonging to activists.
Headline image via AFP WASHINGTON/Getty Images