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China blocks YouTube again

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 24 (UPI) -- China, without explanation, blocked people in the country from accessing the YouTube Internet video site again Tuesday, Google officials said.

"We don't know the reason for the blockage," said Scott Rubin, a spokesman for the Internet search engine that owns YouTube.

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Rubin said the network began slowing Monday, came to a halt by Tuesday morning and was still out in the evening, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

It wasn't known whether the service disruption in China had anything to do with the posting of a video last week purporting to show handcuffed Tibetan prisoners being beaten by a Chinese police officer. Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news service, Tuesday accused the Tibetan government in exile of faking the wounds, but did not mention YouTube, the Mercury News said.

A Chinese government spokesman was asked about YouTube at a news conference Monday afternoon. "We encourage the active use of the Internet, but also manage the Internet according to law," the spokesman replied.

T. Kumar of Amnesty International USA said the blockage "fits the pattern of Chinese authorities censoring information." China routinely blocks Web sites it finds objectionable.

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An attorney for Google, which is based in Menlo Park, Calif., testified before a congressional panel last year that in October 2007, China shut down YouTube while the Communist Party Congress was being held in Beijing.

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