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China clamps down on Internet during key Party Congress

November 09, 2012 19:39 IST

Web users in China are having a harrowing time specially to use search engine Google and login into its mail service 'Gmail' as Internet speed has been drastically reduced coinciding with a key week-long meet of the ruling Communist Party.

Demonstrating their complete control on the web with a host of firewalls, Chinese authorities have clamped down on net usage making it a distressing experience for millions of web users, especially media which gathered here in large numbers to cover the once-in-a-decade leadership change.

Many email users switched over from Gmail to Hotmail and Yahoo services both of which were also blocked on Friday.

It is still not clear why Chinese authorities have to restrict the speeds of the net while they already have effective firewalls to curtail access to Facebook, Twitter and other banned political websites run by Tibetan activists.

The number of Internet users has jumped to 538 million from 20 million in 2001. To keep a tab on mushrooming Internet users, China has established a sophisticated system of filters, cutting off the access to foreign websites and information authorities don't like.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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