The 18th Communist Party Congress got underway at the end of last week. According to tradition, a couple thousand delegates are meeting to discuss the direction of the party and elect new delegates and a new national leader.
It’s widely assumed that outgoing President Hu Jintao will make way for Xi Jinping as the next leader the Chinese Communist Party. That transition seems like it’ll be a smooth one, despite some bad PR the party has gotten lately.
A lot has been made of corruption in the government recently in China, evidently, and so this party congress could be an important one that the citizens might want to follow on the internet.
“We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end,” a Google spokesperson told CNNMoney.
Google’s ‘transparency report,’ which identifies and publicizes disruptions in service, “shows a sharp drop in traffic from China across all of Google’s products,” said CNN.
According to the New York Times’ Bill Bishop, this latest incident isn’t doing the Chinese government any PR favors over internet management. In fact, he says it’s discouraging for those hoping the party’s new leadership will loosen restrictions on internet use.
“Beijing blocked access to many Google services and thwarted usage of Virtual Private Networks, or V.P.N.’s, that foreigners and an increasing number of Chinese use to scale the ‘Great Firewall,’” wrote Bishop. “I have lived in Beijing since 2005, and these have been the most draconian few days of internet restrictions I have experienced.”