In celebration of the Chinese Communist Party's 17th Congress this last week, leaders there apparently decided that preventing people from seeing cats flush toilets would make the choreographed proceedings run all that much smoother.
Indeed, we wrote here last August, that China was developing rules that could put a YouTube and other "non-approved" video sites out of business in the country. Now, they have seemingly followed through at least temporally.
“It is disturbing that these problems are taking place during the party congress. The blocking of these sites comes at a perfect time for the government. Blogs and video-sharing sites such as YouTube offer ways for Internet users to share situations they may have encountered during the congress. Preventing Chinese citizens from having access to them forces them to rely on the national media for their information. It so happens that on 15 October, the front pages of all the national newspapers were virtually identical.”
The Moonlight Blog covers the blockage here (the screenshot above comes from this site). I should note that in the post, the author suggests linking here if you are outside of China to see if you can get to YouTube via Google search. I could. This may mean that with the end of the Congress yesterday, the curtains on the site have been lifted. (The Moonlight Blog also notes that, at least temporarily, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google searches were being redirected to the Chinese-owned search site Baidu over the weekend).
Others suggested that the YouTube hit was retribution for Google opening a presence in Taiwan).
Regardless of the reason, IF YouTube is back up, it will bring great joy to the 200 strong (and growing) members of the "Mad That Youtube is BANNED in China" Facebook group. The description of the group by a high school student in China succinctly speaks volumes to the actual divide between the well-educated Internet-savvy Chinese kids and their Communist Party elders:
"Now that youtube is gone in China, i have nothing to fucking do anymore. I WANT IT BACK"