The reasons are as varied as the websites themselves and China doesn't just block Internet websites. They monitor the Internet usage of their citizens. There are a number of people in jail - mostly journalists - on charges ranging from signing petitions to speaking out against the Chinese government.
According to greatfire.org, 44 of the Alexa Top 1000 websites are blocked in China. Here are the ten sites that are most popular with users that are currently blocked, as well as the reasons why.
- Various Google properties like Google Docs, Google Drive, Picasa, Gmail and Google +: Most of these have been blocked since 2011 and are still blocked to this day. Picasa has been blocked since July of 2009. The reason for this extraordinary censorship is that China appears to be trying to isolate the web available to Chinese users to only websites that China controls. However, this is bad news for webmasters who miss out on valuable tools like Analytics.
- Facebook: Facebook has been blocked in China possibly longer than any other website. July of 2008 was when the censoring started, and while users can still log onto Facebook using Virtual Private Networks and other tools, for most users, Facebook is a no go. Most people agree that the reason for the block was the riots in Xinjiang four years ago. However, no further details have ever been released.
- YouTube: The largest video sharing website has also been blocked in mainland China, since March of 2009. YouTube is blocked because it showed riots in Tibet, riots that the Chinese government maintains were faked. Apparently, the Chinese government is afraid that some citizens may take their cues from a YouTube video and start a riot themselves.
- Twitter: Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009, and the reason is quite clear. It is easy for people to organize, share and communicate via Twitter, and there is very little that the government can do to monitor or control it. This includes the Twitter domain t.co.
- Wikipedia is an unusual case because it has been blocked and unblocked at least once throughout the censorship history. The reason for the blocking is that Wikipedia is edited by users, and even though the Chinese version of events may be watered down or censored, users can change it to reflect actual events. All languages of Wikipedia are blocked and Wikimedia images as well.
- Blogspot is also blocked in China, most likely because it is a Google property, but also because it is a free and easy platform for those who wish to speak out against the Chinese government to set up a blog to do so.
- Xhamster is one of several pornographic sites that are blocked in China, and is one of the most popular free adult video sites in the world. The reason for the censorship is that the government believes that removing pornographic materials will ensure that Chinese citizens are "hardworking" and "moral." Xhampster is only one of several sites that are blocked.
- Internet Movie Database (IMDB): While there has not been an official statement as to why IMDB was blocked, many believe that a documentary called "When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun" is to blame. The film is about the Dalai Lama and the struggle to free Tibet.
- NYtmes: While the reason for the IMDB block may be unclear, the reasons for the New York Times website censorship are easy to understand. The New York Times has been very vocal about the corruption in the Chinese government, and has posted multiple stories in both print and online publications, speaking out specifically against the money that has been accumulated by the family members of Wen Jiabao, the nation's ex-Prime Minister.
- RedTube.com: This is another one of the pornographic websites featuring adult material that the Chinese government has blocked. As previously mentioned, the government feels that those looking at pornography will not be as morally upright and hardworking as those that do not view it.