China’s internet service suffered a major blackout for two hours yesterday morning, sparking numerous conspiracy theories on the possible reasons, with rumours of a master “kill switch” doing the rounds, ZDNet reports.
At approximately 11 a.m. local time yesterday, web users around China, Hong Kong, and even Japan were unable to access not only most Chinese sites, but also many foreign sites that have not been previously blocked by Beijing. While HTTP traffic was blocked, people could still make Skype calls and send emails.
Initial belief that the large earthquake that rocked Indonesia could have disturbed underwater cables was denied by China’s major telecommunication companies, China Telecom and Unicom. rumours are rampant the blackout had to do with a software update on China’s internet firewall, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Latest news: most foreign websites can’t be accessed. Analysis: for commonly known reasons, a large number of foreign URLs are blocked. It is possible that the great firewall is undergoing some readjustment, mistakenly adding many foreign websites to the blocking list. The details are unclear,” Data centre for China Internet posted on Weibo (China’s version of Twitter), the Guardian reports.
Another possible explanation floating around is that Beijing wanted to clamp down on the online chatter about Bo Xilai’s downfall. Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that authorities had removed more than 210,000 online posts and shut down 42 websites since March, as rumours of a coup flooded the internet, worrying the Communist party, The Telegraph reports.
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