American websites have come under attack in China since President George W. Bush met the Dalai Lama in Washington this week.
Popular search engines are said to have been “hijacked” by computer hackers who had managed to redirect users to a Chinese website.
Analysts at Search Engine Roundtable, a website focusing on internet searching, said that those attempting to use the search engines on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft websites were being sent on to a Chinese equivalent called Baidu.
Access to other popular American websites including YouTube was also reported to have been blocked.
There was speculation that the motive behind the “hijacking” might be retaliation against the United States for the warm welcome it showed the Dalai Lama.
There appears to no question that China is causing some unusually tricky internet trouble over the last days, but as Chinese web watcher Rebecca MacKinnon observes, “the truth, it appears, lies in a murky grey area – as is often the case with China stories.”