China has expanded its Great Firewall and is now apparently blocking content from Reuters. The international news agency now joins the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg on the list of news sources blocked by the communist regime.
Reuters itself made the discovery after several users expressed difficulty in accessing its content late Thursday night. By Friday, the website became completely inaccessible from within China for no apparent reason.
China has been working to clamp down on foreign news sources since the Hong Kong protests in September 2014. The government had originally gone after instant messaging apps that it blamed for spreading anti-government messages and were being used by protesters to coordinate their efforts. While most communications in the country are monitored by authorities, these foreign apps generally contain some sort of encryption that made this impossible to do.
Reuters has occasionally been blocked when it ran stories that the Chinese government deemed to be on sensitive issues. However, this latest outage does not appear to have been provoked by any particular story lately; which adds to the mystery as to why this had occurred.
In similar news, Chinese censorship watchdog Great Fire has come under a DDoS attack. However, instead of crippling the service, the attackers are driving up the costs of operating the site. Traffic to GreatFire.org has increased some 2500-percent and has driven its hosting fees beyond US$30,000 (about RM111,000) per day.
The organisation has reached out to Amazon (who hosts the site) to forego the additional fees for the duration of the attack. There was no confirmation from the hosts, and it is unknown how the non-profit will handle the situation should it have to pay for the additional bandwith.