Swedish online news site banned in China

computersJust as Sweden recently expelled one of China’s diplomats, the Asian nation returned in kind by expelling a Swedish diplomat and apparently also blocking online news site The Local from millions of Chinese web-surfers. China is known to block websites the government deems too controversial, and it appears The Local is its latest victim.

The site, which labels itself “Sweden’s News in English,” ran a story in late June about Sweden’s expulsion of the Chinese diplomat. It is believed that this story is the cause of the ban. The article focused on allegations that one of China’s diplomats was spying on political refugees who live in Sweden, according to The Local.

An Internet user living in China has reported that The Local appears to be the only Swedish news site currently being blocked by the government. Known as the Golden Shield Project, or the Great Firewall of China, the Chinese government began controlling Internet access in 2003 via this agency, whose sole mission is to deny access to offensive websites.

One of Sweden’s more vocal libertarian bloggers, Johan Norberg, has also been repeatedly banned from posting in China by the government agency. “I have been to China and have even met a person who works with Internet control there. As I understand it, they have some Swedish staff who keep a check on these things,” Norberg told The Local.