It hasn’t been a great week for WikiLeaks. The site was hacked on Friday, only to go up and be dealt another DDoS attack this morning, the White House is calling for its founders’ prosecution, and now China has removed access to the site.
In the midst of WikiLeaks documents accusing China of being responsible for last year’s Google hacks, the country has decided to block the site from its public while also reviewing the information internally. “China takes note of the government reports. We hope the US side will handle the relevant issues. As for the content of the documents, we will not comment on that,” a spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a conference this morning, according to IDG.
Banning the website definitely isn’t an uncharacteristic move for China, but it certainly highlights growing tensions over the release of the secret cables. Yesterday, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama expressed disappointment in the leak, they also noted that such classified information could hurt the US’ rapport with the international community.
US relations with the Chinese government have always been complex, to say the least, especially as the country establishes itself as an able economic competitor. Analysts identify it as a relationship that has struck a balance, and one that could easily feel the hitch thrown at it by WikiLeaks. Segments of the cables are embarrassing for the country, such as an excerpt in which Chinese officials mock North Korea, and another discussing privileges given to children of high-ranking Chinese and North Korean officials.
It’s too early to tell the depth of fallout the US government may experience with China, but the cord WikiLeaks latest stunt has struck with the online community is obvious. While plenty have rallied around to support the site and defend the right to information and government transparency, its opposition is the side taking action. After “The Jester” took down WikiLeaks prior to its release of over 250,000 government cables, the site was once again hit by a distributed denial of service attack this morning, blocking it from US and European servers.
WikiLeaks has a long road ahead of it, as it seems to be making enemies faster than it can protect its own site.