Internet users in Mainland China noted on Sunday evening at around 11:30 p.m. how they were able to access a number of Google sites that include Google.com, Google.com.hk, Google.com.vn, and Google.com.sg.
However, the access seemed to be short-lived, as the users were soon once again been denied access to their preferred sites at around 1:15 a.m.
People in China would normally use a VPN whenever they need to access YouTube and Google's search engine or other services. On Sunday night, these services had become accessible for at least 105 minutes even without the use of a VPN.
Shenzhen-based IT engineer Li Yue said that the moment when Google seemed unblocked, it may have signaled that free speech had once again returned to China.
Weibo.com user, identified as Xiaohu Erin, posted at 1:16 a.m. on Monday that Google was once again blocked and that the short period of happiness will be remembered.
The temporary access was cited as a result of Google's launch of new IP servers to users in Japan, India and other South-East Asian countries. Since these servers are technically new, the Great Firewall, otherwise known as China's Golden Shield Project, did not initially recognize the IP addresses and therefore had allowed the servers to bypass the Internet censors.
The Golden Shield Project was envisioned by the Chinese government as a comprehensive database-focused surveillance system, used to access not only the information of its citizens, but also to create a link in the country on levels of its national, regional and local security.
When the Internet had expanded in China at such an unexpected speed, the government decided to create a number of adjustments to the original vision that it had on the Golden Shield Project. As a result, the Internet initiative now focuses on creating firewalls that filter contents which are accessed individually, a change that had caused the move to be also known as the Great Firewall of China.
Since then, China has been known to have its own unique culture of self-censorship and has pushed for companies to be responsible with their online portals. The China government has vowed to bring down any online content that publishes prohibited topics such as anti-government sentiments.
Apart from Google, other huge companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo are also subjected to China's rule on self-censorship.
Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in the Mainland for years. While Facebook has had a number of high-level talks with the Chinese government, there are no signs so far that any progress is being achieved.