Wednesday, March 25, 2009

YouTube Censored in China, Google Confirms
Dharamshala: The video-sharing site “YouTube” has been block in China since Monday, apparently to block the footages appearing on the site showing brutal beatings of Tibetan protesters by Chinese police officers in Tibet.

Google confirmed on Tuesday that its YouTube video-sharing Web site had been blocked in China.

“We don’t know the reason for the block,” a Google spokesman, Scott Rubin, was quoted as saying by “Our government relations people are trying to resolve it.”

Mr. Rubin said that the company first noticed traffic from China had decreased sharply late Monday. By early Tuesday, he said, it had dropped to nearly zero.

China routinely filters Internet content and blocks material that is critical of its policies. It also frequently blocks individual videos on YouTube. YouTube was not blocked Tuesday or Wednesday in Hong Kong, the largely autonomous region of China. Beijing has not interfered with Internet sites there.

“The instant speculation is that YouTube is being blocked because the Tibetan government in exile released a particular video,” said Xiao Qiang, adjunct professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and editor of China Digital Times, a news Web site that chronicles political and economic changes in China.

Mr. Xiao said that the blocking of YouTube fit with what appeared to be an effort by China to step up its censorship of the Internet in recent months. Mr. Xiao said he was not surprised that YouTube was a target. It also hosts videos about the Tiananmen Square protests and many other subjects that Chinese authorities find objectionable.

Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's representative in Geneva, said the footage showed "police beating protesters".

"The footage clearly shows the beating of Tibetan captives even after they are handcuffed and tied, a violation of international norms," BBC quoted Mr Chhoekyapa as saying.

The rare footages of Chinese police brutality was acquired by the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamshala, which released it on 20 March 2009.

The footages featured a Tibetan called Tendar, Tendar, a staff in the China Mobile company who was brutally beaten and later suffered inhumane treatment at the hands of Chinese authorities on 14 March 2008.

He was fired at, burned with cigarettes butts, pierced with a nail in his right foot, and severely beaten with an electric baton. The wounds and the bruise marks visible on his body is a testimony of the brutality he was subjected to by the Chinese authorities.

He died due to his injuries on June 19, 2008. When his corpse was offered to the vultures according to the tradition, a nail was found in his right foot.

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