China annexed Tibet in 1950, and Tibet became a formal province of China in 1959. Today, a half-century later, Tibetan resistors are no longer fighting with protests in the streets, but with protests on the internet.
Websites like YouTube allow protestors to post videos of the uprising against China and of reported retaliation by the Chinese army.
With these new videos capturing audiences in hundreds of thousands, China blocked access to YouTube within the country. Some of the video depict protestors being killed in uprisings across the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Chinese authorities claim only 16 protestors have been killed. The real number is unknown as a New York Times blog reports that no one is being allowed to confirm the number of dead. Despite the YouTube blockade by China, a number of videos depicting the violence in the region have made their way to YouTube.
YouTube has been targeted by some governments recently for different issues. In America the problem with YouTube is the posting of copyrighted videos, though the website has never faced a state-sanctioned shut down for this reason.
China isn’t the only government attempting to block YouTube. Pakistan accidentally cut off YouTube and its entire country from the internet in February of 2008 when it made a series of mistakes while attempting to stop its citizens from watching anti-Islamic videos featured on the website.
Other countries with critical views of its leadership or state religion have also imposed temporary sanctions against YouTube, including Iran, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Iran and the United Arab Emirates are the only two other countries that still impose bans on YouTube content.