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Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo are among the thousands of websites originating in the west that are blocked by the so-called Great Firewall of China. Others complained they were forced to use Chinese search engines they said delivered poor results - often irrelevant or thought to be paid advertising.

"Why can't we choose what we want to use?" said a comment signed Aurelito on the Sina Weibo microblog service.

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010, after rows with the authorities over censorship and hacking.

Google came under fire past year when news emerged that it was planning to launch a censored version of its search app in China.

Attempting to open cn.bing.com results in an error message, though users in China can still access Bing's worldwide site using a virtual private network.

"We've confirmed that Bing is now inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps", Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. The service was blocked on the instructions of the government, the Financial Times cited unidentified sources as saying.

Notably, this is not the first time that CAC has initiated a cleanup or blocked websites and apps from operating in China. China's "Great Firewall" is a set of legislation that regulates internet domestically censors websites that do not comply with the regulations. It's no secret that the government has been cracking down on western services for a while, though it's control over the internet is only getting worse over time.

Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has promoted the notion of "internet sovereignty", or the right of Beijing and other governments to dictate what their publics can do and see online.

Chinese authorities have also cracked down on Virtual Private Networks, which allow users to skirt around the firewall.

In a statement on Wednesday, the CAC said it had deleted more than 7 million pieces of online information and 9,382 mobile apps.

Google is now in the midst of developing a search engine that complies with China's censorship laws, although the move has faced strong opposition from employees and human rights activists alike.

Smith also said that although the US technology giant has been cooperating in accordance with government policy, there are certain instances where the company will stick to its own principles.


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