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China blocks site amid calls for protests

Feb. 25, 2011 at 7:22 AM

BEIJING, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- China, faced with online calls for protests similar to those sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, has blocked the LinkedIn Web site, a spokesman said.

The Financial Times said Friday LinkedIn, described as a social networking site for professionals, became the first major victim of growing Chinese Internet censorship while calls increased for "Jasmine" pro-democracy protests in the giant Communist country.

Terms such as "Jasmine rally" or "Jasmine revolution" were inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and other countries.

"We can confirm that access to LinkedIn is being blocked for some in China," the Times quoted spokesman Hani Durzy as saying in an e-mail statement. "This appears to be part of a broader effort in China going on right now, involving other sites as well."

There had been reports from some LinkedIn users in China a day earlier that they could not access the site without certain network tools designed to bypass Internet blockages, the report said.

The latest developments come amid efforts by Chinese authorities to crackdown on "Jasmine" calls sent out by anonymous internet users.

Earlier, the Times reported one call urged democracy gatherings each Sunday in Chinese cities.

There was a similar call a week earlier but that fizzled out after Chinese police showed up in force in Beijing.

The Times said efforts failed Friday to post content with the term "Jasmine" on Sina Weibo, the country's largest microblog.

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