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2/25/2011
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China Blocks LinkedIn

The business social media site is the latest to be barred by the government, although partial access seems to have been restored.

Following online calls for a pro-democracy rally in China, the nation's government disrupted service to LinkedIn, making the business social networking site the latest service to suffer an outage at the hands of the communist rulers.

"We can confirm that access to LinkedIn is being blocked for some in China," Hani Durzy, a spokesman for LinkedIn, said Friday. "This appears to be part of a broader effort in China going on right now, involving other sites as well."

On Friday evening, local time, service to LinkedIn had resumed, although portions of the social media site remained inaccessible, according to the Times of India. For example, a LinkedIn discussion group begun by a user called "Jasmine Z," which talked about the viability of an Egyptian-like revolution in China, remained unavailable, the newspaper reported.

While Twitter itself frequently was inaccessible directly, Chinese users often accessed the microblogging site via LinkedIn, CNN reported. On Thursday, Tweeter Nnamdi Offor posted: "Can absolutely confirm LinkedIn block.. screenshots w/ my proxy on & off" and shared screenshots of an apparently blocked LinkedIn site.

The disruption occurred after the Chinese government moved to detain several people after Boxun, a Chinese-language Web site located outside the country, advocated for a "Jasmine Revolution," modeled on the movements in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, among other nations. The goal is to encourage China's governing Communist Party to enact democratic changes, media reports said.

In response, China blocked parts of the Internet to China's connected population: Searches for the name of United States Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Egypt, Jasmine Revolution, and Jasmine were censored on the popular Chinese internet portal Sina.com, according to several published reports. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter also are blocked, something that regularly occurs in this nation, the Times of India reported.

Users who searched for Huntsman's name on popular local site Sina Weibo read the message Friday that results were inaccessible due to unspecified "laws, regulations and policies," Forbes said.

In addition, users were unable to post information using the term "Jasmine Revolution" to homegrown social media giant Renren. The Beijing company, widely expected to file for a $500 million initial public offering in the United States this spring, is one of a trio of hot Chinese social media giants that also includes Youku, a YouTube lookalike, and Dangdang, similar to Amazon.

Last December, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent part of his winter vacation touring the offices of Baidu, another successful Chinese tech company. The meeting with the search engine's CEO, Robin Li, led to rumors of an acquisition, but was prompted by the men's friendship and Zuckerberg's interest in China, said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo at the time.

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