China implemented a site-wide block of YouTube today, for reasons still unknown. The country has blocked portions of YouTube before as part of its censorship programs, but blocking the entire site is something new.
Wired’s Epicenter blog lists some recent events that could have triggered China’s censorship officials’ massive blockade, including footage of Chinese soldiers beating Tibetans, or videos released by the U.S. Navy of Chinese ships attempting to interfere with a sonar array cable being dragged behind the USNS Impeccable.
Regardless, Chinese citizens currently can’t watch videos on YouTube, and while parent company Google (s GOOG) is working to restore access, it doesn’t know what its next steps will be.
The Chinese government exerts strict control over content and has denied the required licenses to different Chinese video-sharing sites in the past. During a recent visit to our offices, Youku CEO Victor Koo said that officials in charge of censoring content had been more permissive as of late.