The Chinese government has abruptly shut down dozens of blogs in its latest attempt to control the growing tide of social networking, according to the Associated Press.
The crackdown, which apparently surfaced Wednesday, has affected both blogs and shorter microblogs, which have become a popular method to spread the word and rally support about sensitive issues there. The move has led to many blogs disappearing from Sohu, home to popular microblogs by outspoken writers and lawyers, said the AP, quoting several bloggers whose posts had been shut down.
A lawyer named Pu Zhiqiang told the AP that he had been writing a new post when he suddenly discovered that his blog couldn't open. A legal expert named Xu Zhiyong also reported that his blog was closed. Another blogger Yao Yuan said that he knew of at least 61 blogs on Sohu that are now blocked, according to the AP.
The AP could not reach Chinese government officials for comment, and some the companies hosting the blogs sites weren't talking either. However, a Netease representative did assert that its microblog site was down as a result of maintenance to upgrade certain features, according to China Daily.
China's attempts to control the the flow of information in and out of the Internet have been a constant battle and source of conflict, from its rocky relationship with Google to its continual censorship. The country has a history of cracking down on blogs and other types of information that it decides is "harmful" to its citizens.