Chinese government has blocked access to a quarter-million cables belonging to US diplomacy that whistleblowing site Wikileaks leaked to the public, along with the New York Times, UK's Guardian, France's Le Monde, Germany's Der Spiegel, and Spain's El Pais newspapers. As you know, juicy documents that exposed the guts of the US diplomacy have stunned the world and caught the US government on the wrong foot.
The Obama administration has dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a damage control mission while the government's top lawyers are figuring out ways to stop Australian hacker Julian Assange, the brains behind the WikiLeaks site. Those electronic transcripts from US embassies around the world contain confidential diplomatic talk, as well as dirty secrets, rumors, and unpleasant allegations. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that the floodgate of ensuing bad news turned lives of many governments into a freak show.
Matter of fact, the powers that be in one of the most controlled societies in the world have decided that the Chinese people should have no business reading diplomatic gossips.>/p>
Late yesterday, Chinese authorities both blocked access to the WikiLeaks "Cablegate" page and ordered the country's big media not to publish any related stories, the Wall Street Journal, Computerworld, and other publications reported.
Although the officials gave no reason for their decision, we can speculate the move might be rooted in unpleasant discoveries from the WikiLeak dump related to Google's business in China.
Image credit: Lance Webel
According to the New York Times, one of the cables from January has a Chinese contact telling the American Embassy in Beijing that a co-ordinated attack on Google's server in China was in fact orchestrated by a member of the country's Politburo. This unnamed government official, the story goes, woke up one morning and googled his name. Surprised by an endless stream of articles criticizing his public persona, this official allegedly became so enraged that he ordered full-scale cyberattack on Google's machines.
If true, the ridiculous story could have serious consequences as it blames Chinese government for the hack on Google's servers. As you know, the attack later contributed to Google's decision to withdraw from mainland China. This contact apparently blamed "government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws" for the sabotage. Worse, it seems these groups might have also broken into the systems of the US government and big corporations, the paper reported.
It's unclear why the US government hasn't yet investigated those claims or at least filed a formal complaint with the Chinese authorities. If you ask me, it's a tad too convenient that WikiLeaks was initially allowed through China's Great Firewall only to become blocked when the cables connected the country's government to cybercrime and industrial espionage. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks.org is still under a massive DoS attack and has been unavailable for most of the day. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that US-sponsored hackers are behind this one.