China blocks access to S. Korean portal Daum

2019.01.28 15:16:57 | 2019.01.28 15:50:30

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Access to South Korea’s top portal site Daum operated by Kakao Corp. has been blocked in China for a fourth day on Monday, raising speculation that Beijing may have resumed censorship over Korean contents.

“Connection [to Daum portal] has been blocked since Jan. 25,” said an unnamed official from Kakao on Monday. “It is hard to tell the exact reason or when the connection will be resumed.”

Industry insiders wonder if the latest blocking may be part of the so-called Great Firewall of China – a censorship system that involves legislative actions and technologies to regulate the internet domestically. Through this system, China has long blocked western websites such as search engine Google and social network service platforms Facebook and YouTube.

Korean services have also been blocked in China, such as mobile messengers KakaoTalk and Line, since July 2014. The Chinese government said after a month of no connection that it has “blocked connection [of the messengers] in China as they have been used as a means to share terror information.”

Access to Korea’s other top portal Naver has also been restricted since October last year, making it unable for Korean residents in China to connect to Naver blogs and internet cafes. Some of the blocked sites were reachable via virtual private network but the Chinese authority has recently been reinforcing control over the access.

An unnamed official from Naver said that it is difficult to root cause of the service block in China as diplomatic issues are involved. There are also limits to handling the issue as a private business, the official noted.

The Korean government has requested China for explanation and correction on the site cut-off but did not get any answers.

An unnamed official from Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT said that it is difficult to confirm the matter with the Chinese government.

China, meanwhile, has been regulating contents such as games, news, and messengers deemed to undermine national security under its Cybersecurity law for the past six months.

By Lee Sun-hee and Lee Eun-joo

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