China blocks YouTube access

The Chinese government has blocked access to Google's YouTube, despite asserting that it does not "fear the internet".

The video sharing site has been unavailable to Chinese web users since late Monday, Google has confirmed.

There is speculation that the site has been blocked because it has a video released by the Tibetan government in exile of soldiers beating Tibetan monks, the BBC said.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told reporters yesterday that "[m]any people have a false impression that the Chinese government fears the Internet. In fact it is just the opposite."  He said he did not know that YouTube had been blocked.

According to Google, both the Google and YouTube have previously been blocked in China for short periods of time, with Chinese authorities in the past blocking access to certain videos.

The Chinese government in January began a crackdown of what the government calls "vulgar" websites. Under the crackdown, 91 sites were blocked in just three days. China warned Google and Chinese search engine Baidu that they needed to do more to censor "inappropriate content."

Several sites popular with Tibetans were also blocked in the crackdown, Reuters said.