China has begun imposing an information blackout ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, blocking access to popular networking websites such as Twitter and BBC television reports inside China.
The measures came as the authorities tried to close all avenues of dissent ahead of Thursday’s anniversary, placing prominent critics under house arrest and banning newspaper from making any mention of the pro-democracy protests.
The co-ordinated internet “takedown” occurred at 5pm local time (10am GMT) on Tuesday as a broad range of websites suddenly became unavailable to Chinese internet users.
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Among the blocked sites was the blogging portal MSNSpaces, the Hotmail email service, Yahoo’s photo-sharing site Flickr.com and Microsoft’s new search engine Bing.com.
However, in a sign of how it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Chinese to control the internet, Twitter users found alternative outlets in rival providers to evade the censors.