[THE INVESTOR] Korean internet giant Naver’s blogging and Cafe community services are inaccessible in China since last week, with speculation rift that the authorities have clamped down.
The services, which have not been accessible since Oct. 16, are still not available for local users as of Oct. 23, according to Naver.
“The latest connection issues in China have nothing to do with internal technical problems,” said a spokesperson from the Korean internet firm. “It is hard to verify the reasons.”
The web portal company has reported the disconnection to state-run Korean internet agencies.
The exact cause of the incident has not been verified yet, but it is speculated that China’s Great Firewall censorship initiative is what blocks access to the Korean services.
Some Naver users even alleged that posts shared on the platforms on rumors about Chinese CEOs, politicians and celebrities, including outgoing Alibaba chairman Jack Ma and actress Fan Bingbing, are what triggered the authorities to crackdown on the Korean services.
Of the 1,000 most popular websites in the world, around 180 sites, including The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Google, Facebook and Instagram, are inaccessible in China, according to GreatFire, a nonprofit organization that monitors internet censorship in the country.
In 2014, the authorities blocked access to mobile messenger apps KakaoTalk and Line, citing that they were being used by terrorists.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)