Google's search engine and its other Web services -- Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, etc -- appear to have been blocked by the Great Firewall of China in time for the country's Party Congress, the tightly guarded, inter-governmental meeting to select new leadership, the New York Times reported Friday.
Google told the Times that there weren't any technical problems on its end, but on its own Transperancy Report monitoring webpage, Google traffic from China has dropped off sharply on Friday. Google products and services, although self-censored per Chinese Internet regulations, are sporadically blocked in mainland China, but sometimes unblocked, resulting in sudden bursts of activity on Google websites by Chinese users. Following a hack it said originated from China, Google in March 2010 began re-directing users from the Chinese mainland to Google's uncensored Hong Kong domain. Google in June began alerting users to when they are suffering "connection issues" for specifc search queries, which the New York Times interpreted to be an effective censorship alert.