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China blocks access to WikiLeaks

Source: PTI
December 01, 2010 18:35 IST
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China on Wednesday blocked access to WikiLeaks, which has released 2.5 lakh secret United States documents, with its official media stonewalling publication of the leaked cables highlighting Beijing's embarrassing predicament over its close ally North Korea and allegations that it directly authorised hacking of Google.

Wikileaks.org and cablegate.wikileaks.org were totally blocked and could not be accessed even through some of the free proxy servers, underlining the extent of control the government exercises in China, which has the largest network base of over 420 million internet users.

China routinely blocks access to large content, including information relating to Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, websites run by Tibetan activists as well as dissidents, through a massive network of firewalls.

There was not much in the print and electronic media in Beijing during the past few days over the 2.5 lakh documents leaked by the whistle-blower website, except for a denial in the State-run China Daily by official analysts of the claims contained in the secret cables that the politburo of the ruling Communist Party of China authorised hacking of Google to make it fall in line with the official controls.

Google, which has over 30 per cent share in the burgeoning Chinese internet market, almost wound up its operations earlier this year by shifting them to Hong Kong but later returned to the mainland, accepting all stipulated conditions to remain in business in China.

Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks disclosures containing some of the US embassy memos in Beijing contained frank and candid assessment by Chinese officials of acts of North Korea, with one of them describing Pyongyang as a "spoilt child" for attempting to win US attention with a provocative missile test.

A February 2010 cable quoted a South Korean official as saying that China "would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a benign alliance -- as long as Korea was not hostile towards China."

Another cable quoted the then South Korean foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, as stating that China's leaders were divided over North Korea acting as a buffer state. It suggested that the younger set of Chinese leaders was even willing "to face the new reality" that North Korea has little value to China.
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