Chinese Government Blocks in the Country (Update: it’s back)

Posted on January 24, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Bing + MSN, Microsoft with 4 Comments

Update: Bing has mysteriously made a return in China. According to Bloomberg, users are once again able to access the search engine in the country. It’s still not clear exactly why it was banned, what/if Microsoft changed anything. Original story follows.

Microsoft’s search engine is no longer accessible in China. Users of the search engine from the country started reporting the issue as of last night, and Microsoft later confirmed that the search engine is indeed inaccessible in China.

It is not clear exactly why has been blocked, though China’s state-owned telecom China Unicom has confirmed that the order to ban came from the Chinese government. “We’ve confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Bing isn’t obviously the only western service that is blocked in China, other popular services like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been long blocked in the region due to the government’s censorship. Microsoft, however, did comply with the Chinese government’s policies to keep Bing from being blocked, though something must have changed for the latest ban.

Bing getting blocked in China is a huge deal and it just highlights the continued abuse of power from the Chinese government. It’s no secret that the government has been cracking down on western services for a while, though it’s control over the internet is only getting worse over time. And if you are in China relying on Bing as your main search engine, that’s certainly going to affect your daily life as you will now be limited to using China’s Baidu search engine, or another alternative.

Microsoft did say the company is “engaged” to figure out what’s next here, so this story will likely develop over the coming days.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Chinese Government Blocks in the Country (Update: it’s back)”

  1. FalseAgent

    and just like that, poof goes Microsoft's Bing investment in China. Why even bother? I know American companies with their shareholder supremacy can't resist that sweet, sweet, lucrative market, but this is a battle for the soul of how the World Wide Web should fundamentally operate. Do we have a truly global web, or are we going to have a different web for each country catering to the flimsies of various political leaderships?

    Technology companies should just sit this out until China makes their rules less vague, and more transparent with their enforcement of it.

  2. markbyrn

    I guess Bing wasn't censoring hard enough for their Chinese government masters but according to Statcounter, Bing not being blocked had less usage in China (2.01%) than Google with a block (2.57%).

  3. wosully

    When I was in China, my phone was nearly useless for the majority of the apps I use; if they can't read your data they attempt to block it. Really disappointing.

  4. Xatom

    No according to Paul, it's simply our xenophobia. Nothing to see here or worry about.