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Google is back in China but blames 'great firewall' for loss of service

LONDON - Google has blamed the "great firewall of China" for its abrupt loss of service in mainland China yesterday, but confirmed all its services are back up and running again today.

Google: goes back online in China

Google: goes back online in China

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Today's revelations by the internet giant mark the latest salvo in the ongoing censorship/hacking dispute which led to Google redirecting its .cn service to Hong Kong earlier this month.

Yesterday users to Google's Hong Kong-based service were unable to use all standard searches on the site but Google initially believed this was due to a technical problem.

A new parameter which included three letters, rfa, which can be a sensitive phase in China – Radio Free Asia – was thought to be responsible, but the company have since qualified its stance by noting the change happened more a week ago.

A Google spokesperson said: "Having looked into this issue in more detail, it's clear we actually added this parameter a week ago.

"So whatever happened today to block Google.com.hk must have been as a result of a change in the great firewall.

"However, interestingly our search traffic in China is now back to normal – even though we have not made any changes at our end. We will continue to monitor what is going on but for the time being this issue seems to be resolved."

Tension reached new heights earlier this month when the Chinese Government branded the internet giant "totally wrong" and said it has "violated its written promise" after it decided to close its site in China.

Google's decision to pull its site from mainland China followed alleged cyber attacks originating from the country in January. Google will now redirect users of its flagship Google.cn service to its Google.com search site based in Hong Kong.

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