China blocks ‘Egypt’ from Internet searches

The protests raging across Egypt are captivating the rest of the world — except for China.

The country’s Communist Party has ordered Internet censors to block the word “Egypt” from Twitter-like micro-blogging sites out of apparent concern events in the Middle East will stoke unrest closer to home, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Chinese authorities are also busy having comments on the crisis in Egypt scrubbed from those sites.

China has close diplomatic relations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s administration – which may not last the groundswell demanding his ouster. More than 100 people have died in six days of often violent protests.

Restricting information on websites has been common in China in recent years, most recently in the wake of the failed pro-democracy movement in Iran in 2009. The country also cracked down on social media coverage of the riots that engulfed the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang that same year.

Yesterday, something unprecedented happened: Egypt turned off the internet. A nation of 80,000,000 instantly disconnected.(from

But a state-run newspaper, the Global Times, did surface a cautionary editorial on the events in Egypt and Tunisia Sunday.

“In the West, democracy is not only a political system, but a way of life. Yet some emerging democracies in Asia and Africa are taking hit after hit from street-level clamor,” the newspaper warned.

“Democracy is still far away for Tunisia and Egypt….As a general concept, democracy has been accepted by most people. But when it comes to political systems, the Western model is only one of a few options.”