According to an announcement made by LiveJournal, China has officially blocked the popular online blogging site from its citizens. SixApart, the company behind LiveJournal, said that China's censor roughly locks out 1.8 million of its blogs -- of which 8,692 are self-reported Chinese bloggers.
This isn't the first time that China has blocked LiveJournal. SixApart director of worldwide strategy Ginger Tulley said that her company has been blocked before for no apparent reason. "We would just follow our standard procedures, which honor free speech," said Tulley.
Interestingly, the block is just in time for China's National People's Congress meeting in Beijing. According to Xiao Qiang, founder of the China Digital Times, the move is historical to the meeting. "The security is tight and the control is upgraded because they don't want [political voices]," said Xiao.
Chinese officials did not release a statement as to why LiveJournal was blocked, but according to Xiao, the government likely put up a blanket-restriction to target a few, or possibly one blogger. Xiao claims it is possible that Chinese officials simply wanted to block out a single blogger or a specific post, but blocked out all of LiveJournal anyway.
China's Internet firewall is famous for its censorship of free speech. Using specialized software, China has been in the papers for blocking sites that talk about democracy and other hot topics. Other than the usual blocking of porn and questionable materials, China also frowns upon its citizens that speak openly about how its government runs.