Monday, March 14, 2011

Google People Finder blocked in China

Despite the claims by Chinese officials that it fully supports efforts in helping Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Friday it has failed to relax Internet controls that might help those in mainland China help locate loved ones. Soon after the magnitude 9 earthquake, Google launched a special people finder webpage in order to help reunite victims of the disaster.

However, in mainland China the page is blocked leaving many people anxious and leaving them with one less tool at their disposal to help search for missing relatives and friends. While Twitter and Facebook has also been widely used across Japan to keep people informed, such tools are inaccessible for most people in China. Some tweeters in Japan seemed not to realise the block on the Google service was due to Chinese censorship restrictions and targeted criticism at the Internet giant. "Google, open your access to mainland of China. There's Japanese in China and Chinese in Japan," wrote Iruka kou on her Twitter page, while Xuping Huang, posting from Japan, repeated the comments.

Google have a landing page with other resources which is not blocked in mainland China. However the People Finder app, which is embedded on the page as well as several links are inaccessible.

Meanwhile, a rescue team of 15 personnel from China have arrived in Japan with 4 tonnes of equipment. They join several others from around the world sent in a massive rescue and relief effort. [Pictured: the Google people finder as seen in China (left), and elsewhere (right)]

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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