The Chinese government is blocking access to thousands of sites and cloud services in the lead up to tech industry conference, reported the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.
Already trigger happy when it came to blocking websites it didn’t agree with, the state Internet censor has blocked sites and cloud services as disparate as Sony Mobile, retail bank HSBC and The Atlantic. No reasons were given why these sites had fallen foul of the Internet censor and have been pushed outside of the notorious “Great Firewall of China,” although the HSBC website is said to give users a backdoor access to banned site Youtube.
Media speculation suggests that the blackouts are, ironically, in preparation for the World Internet Conference in the small provincial city of Wuzhen. The first of it’s kind to be held in China, the conference will be held from Wednesday to Friday, and will focus on issues such as cyber security, international e-commerce and online anti-terrorism initiatives.
Chinese state media said that up to 1000 people from around the world will attend. Bloomberg is reporting that leaders from local Internet giants, including Alibaba and Tencent, will be in attendance along with executives from LinkedIn, SoftBank and other global tech companies.
Although the rest of China will suffer Internet blackouts to various sites and services, conference attendees will have unfettered access for three days to banned websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
This article first appeared on THR.com.