On Wednesday, Microsoft announced of its search engine, Bing, being blocked in China. However, they were unsure if it was due to China’s great wall censorship or due to a technical glitch.
However, the search engine is back online after being shut down for two consecutive days. The site may have been blocked by government censors. Many users also posted on Weibo, one of the popular social networks in China, commenting that “Bing is back” and “Bing returns to normal.”
ZDNet also pointed out a notable fact that, “The temporary block of Microsoft’s Bing comes at a time when tensions between the US and China are running high, with the introduction of a bipartisan Bill in the US earlier this month to ban the sale of tech to Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, and the US stating on Wednesday its intention to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.”
Though Bing is not widely used in China, it has been one of the few remaining portals to the broader internet as the Chinese government isolates China’s internet from the rest of the world. Bing remains the only US-based search engine because “Microsoft has worked to follow the government’s censorship practices around political topics”, the New York Times reported.
In an interview with Fox Business Network at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, said “There are times when there are disagreements, there are times when there are difficult negotiations with the Chinese government, and we’re still waiting to find out what this situation is about.”