LinkedIn says China has unblocked its service

LinkedIn website LinkedIn believes it is now available again in China

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Business networking site LinkedIn says access to its services appears to have been restored in China, a day after it was blocked there.

"We will continue to monitor the situation," a US spokesman for the site said.

Shortly before the site went offline on Friday, one user set up a forum, discussing the idea of a "Jasmine Revolution" in China.

The phrase has been used to describe the popular revolts in the Middle East.

The Agence France-Presse news agency says that one of its journalists in Beijing was able to access the LinkedIn site on Saturday.

Last weekend, a number of pro-democracy demonstrations were held across China, with police making a handful of arrests.

The protests are thought to have been organised in response to calls made on the website Boxun.com, access to which is banned inside mainland China.

Shortly afterwards, a LinkedIn user named Jasmine J created a group called Jasmine Voice.

In one posting, they wrote: "OMG, some pro-democracy fighters really did something here after the triumph of Egypt."

'Jasmine' blocked

China already exercises strict control over what citizens can view online, with many websites and politically sensitive subjects blocked. Access to Facebook and Twitter is barred.

But LinkedIn, which is used by a relatively small number of professionals, is accessible via domestic internet servers within China.

However the authorities there appear to have increased the level of filtering in response to the wave of popular uprisings across the Middle East.

Searches for the word "jasmine" are now blocked on the country's most popular website, Sina.com.

Internet users inside the country reported that some sites were also blocking information on Jon Huntsman, the US ambassador to Beijing.

Mr Huntsman was seen attending one of last weekend's pro-democracy rallies.

Campaign group Reporters Without Borders criticised the escalation in Chinese net censorship, accusing the authorities of trying to stamp out "all forms of freedom of expression".

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