BEIJING (AP) – For two days, Chinese netizens have no access to Microsoft's Bing search engine, which worries about the ever-shrinking online censorship of the ruling Communist Party.
Microsoft Corp. said the access has been restored. A brief explanation did not give any reason for the error or other details.
Comments on social media had accused regulators of having cut off access to information. Others complained that they were forced to use Chinese search engines, which they claim to be poor results.
"Why can not we choose what we want to use?" In a comment, Aurelito signed the Sina Weibo microblog service.
Bing abused the government's censorship rules by excluding foreign sites blocked by Chinese filters and containing the search results. However, the government of President Xi Jinping has steadily increased the control over online activities.
The online censorship authority, the Cyberspace Administration of China, has not responded to fax questions.
China has by far the largest population According to the government, about 800 million people live online according to Internet users.
The Communist Party promotes the use of the Internet for business and education, but blocks access to foreign websites deemed subversive by news organizations, human rights activists, activists from Tibet, and others. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has endorsed the notion of "Internet sovereignty" or the right of Beijing and other governments to determine what their public can do online.
Chinese filters block access to global social media including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Officials argue that such services, which are beyond their control, pose a threat to national security.
The Xi government has also tightened control over the use of virtual private networking technology that can bypass its filters.
Google unit of Alphabet Inc. operated until 2010 a search engine in China, which excluded locked websites from the results. The company concluded that after hacking attacks aimed at stealing Google's source code and cracking e-mail accounts, it was attributed to China.
This has helped Chinese competitors such as the Baidu.com search engine to flourish. However, Baidu has been hit by repeated complaints that too many search results are irrelevant or paid advertising.