All Google services, including its search engine, Gmail and Maps, were inaccessible in China on Friday night and into Saturday, the company confirmed. The block comes as the 18th Communist Party Congress, the once-in-a-decade meeting to appoint new government leadership, gets under way.
Traffic to Google sites fell off Friday evening in China, according toGoogle’s Transparency Report, which provides information about traffic worldwide.
The company said it was not having any technical problems, but did not say whether it believed its sites had been blocked by the government or were the victims of hacking.
“We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end,” said Christine Chen, a Google spokeswoman.
Despite great fanfare, China’s Party Congress takes place under wraps. Reporters are not allowed in, and in the days preceding the event, the government has imposed restrictions ranging from replacing books in bookstores to banning balloons because they could carry messages of protest.