Google's service in China may have been blocked by the country's government

Access to Google in China renewed after disruption

Users in China were able to access Google’s online services on Thursday, after more than a month of severe disruptions

The disruptions, effectively blocking people from using features such as Google search, maps and e-mail, started in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the government's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

China maintains tight control over the Internet, filtering out any signs of dissent or challenges to the ruling Communist Party's leadership.

Users told Reuters they could use Google Maps and access the Google.com search engine, which redirects to a Hong Kong version of the website.

Google declined to provide immediate comment.

China-based anti-censorship group GreatFire.org also reported that Google services appeared to be accessible within China.

"I'm not sure if it's a temporary glitch or a change of policy," said a member of the group who used a pseudonym. "If Google indeed is unblocked, it's a big victory for free speech."

The member added that it was only a positive development if Google continued to use HTTPS, a form of encryption for websites that ensures individual search phrases cannot be censored within China.

"If Google were to back down and disable HTTPS-by-default for Chinese users it would be a victory for the censorship authorities," the member said.

Other online services are also experiencing disruption in China, which began last week. These include South Korean messaging apps Line and KakaoTalk.

Disruptions have also been affecting Yahoo's photo-sharing site, Flickr, and Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage platform.

Other overseas online services, such as social networks Facebook and Twitter, and Google-owned video site YouTube, have been blocked in China for years.

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