French media group says China blocking Google.com

The Google.com search engine has been blocked in most parts of China, as Beijing steps up its efforts to restrict the public's access to information, a Paris-based media watchdog, quoted in an AFP report, said.

The AFP report, quoting a statement from Reporters Without Borders, said Internet users in many major Chinese cities had had difficulty connecting to the uncensored international version of Google for the past week.

The report said that aside from the Google.com search engine, Reporters Without Borders also believed that the blocking was being gradually extended to the Google News and Google Mail services.

The report further said random attempts to access Google.com in Beijing appeared to confirm that the international version of the search engine had indeed been made unavailable, while the censored Chinese-language version, Google.cn, was still accessible.

A Beijing-based Google spokeswoman said the company was looking into the apparent effort to block its most widely used search engine, but declined any other comment, the report further said.

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