China Internet

Pic: AP.

The website of Britain’s the Guardian newspaper has been blocked in China since Tuesday, for no apparent reason. While US publications and journalists have been coming under pressure from Chinese censors for a number of years, this is the first time a major UK publication has been blocked.

A source in Beijing confirmed that theguardian.com was still blocked as of 4.26pm local time Wednesday, and could only be accessed through a VPN service. Another reader confirmed the same from Shanghai.

The websites of the New York Times and Bloomberg have been blocked by Beijing since both published reports in 2012 on the wealth of Chinese leaders’ families. However, the Guardian claimed, “no China-related stories published by the Guardian in the past two days would obviously be perceived as dangerous by the country’s leadership.”

As of Wednesday afternoon there was no sign of the Guardian website being unblocked. Major websites have been blocked temporarily before and later unblocked, so this may be a temporary measure. Last month Chinese immigration withheld visas from some NYT and Bloomberg reporters in what appeared to be an intimidation tactic, before later issuing them.

The censorhip of the Guardian website was initially confirmed by website monitoring site Greatfire.com.