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Microsoft's bing blinks in China, prompting to mutter



by JOE McDonald, AP Business Writer

Bing appp of Microsoft Corp. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)

Chinese internet users lost access to Microsoft's Bing search engine for two days, beginning to grumble about the increasingly censored online censorship of the ruling Communist Party.

Microsoft Corp. said on Friday that access was restored. A brief statement gave no reason for interruption or other details.

Social media comments blamed regulators for suffocating in access to information. Others complained that they were forced to use Chinese search engines, which they say have poor results.

"Why can not we choose what we want to use?"

Bing complies with government rules on censorship by excluding foreign sites that are blocked by Chinese filters from search results. But the government of President Xi Jinping is continuously strengthening control over online activity.

The agency that imposed online censorship, the Cyberspace Administration of China, did not answer questions sent by fax.

China has the largest population of Internet users, with about 800 million people online, according to government data

The Communist Party encourages Internet use for business and education but blocks access to foreign websites run by news organizations, activists human rights and Tibetan activists and others considered to be subversive. After coming to power in 201

2, Xi promotes the idea of ​​"Internet sovereignty" or the right of Beijing and other governments to dictate what their societies can do and see online.

Chinese filters block access to global social media including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Officials argue that these services, operating outside their control, pose a threat to national security.

The government of Xi has also tightened control over the use of virtual private network technologies that can avoid its filters

ruled a search engine in China by 2010, which excluded blocked sites from the results. The company shut down that after hacking attacks on Google's source code and penetration into e-mail accounts was tracked to China.

This has helped Chinese competitors like Baidu.com to thrive. But Baidu has been struck by repeated complaints that too many search results are irrelevant or are paying advertisements.


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