Microsoft says Bing search engine now blocked in China

Microsoft's Bing search engine

Microsoft's Bing search engine

However, only a few hours later, Bing's Chinese search engine suddenly became usable once more.

The paper published a report Thursday noting Chinese social media users were complaining attempts to access cn.bing.com resulted in a DNS error. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have always been blocked by authorities using a censorship apparatus known as the "Great Firewall".

Bing was the only major foreign search engine accessible from within China's so-called Great Firewall. The search engine had been censoring searches in China.

Bing had been allowed to operate in the country because it censored search results, Schmitz reports.

But the analyst said it could also be a "hack gone wrong". A spokeswoman from China's cyberspace authority did not reply to a request for comment on Thursday.

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010, after rows with the authorities over censorship and hacking. On the other hand, Google is now believed to be exploring a return to China with a dedicated service tailored to China, though at this point, plans are said to be in their early stages.

'Bing has returned, ' wrote one user, adding three sobbing emojis.

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"Our country is fantastic, even the obedient Bing has been walled off, while Baidu flourishes", said another.

"You know, we operate in China pursuant to some global principles that's called the Global Network Initiative in terms of how we manage censorship demands and the like", he said.

A man walks past a Microsoft sign outside a Microsoft office building in Beijing.

MICROSOFT HAS confirmed that its search engine, Bing, has been blocked in China. Communist leaders face a year rich with sensitive dates, including the 70th anniversary of the country's founding on October 1 and the 30th anniversary of the party's crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square on June 4.

"Beijing needs to look like they are in charge and in power", he said.

The Bing blackout came as Chinese leaders gathered at Davos to promote an image of China being pro-trade and open for business, in contrast to the US's increasingly protectionist stance under the Trump administration.

"Over the past couple months, it appears the Chinese government has improved [the] accuracy and frequency of the Great Firewall blocking", said Sunday Yokubaitis, CEO of internet services company Golden Frog.

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