Google has suspended translation services from the popular search engine in mainland China, blocking one of the few remaining services in a country where most Western social media platforms are blocked.
The Google Translate app and website now display a public search bar and a link that redirects Chinese users to its Hong Kong page, which is banned on the mainland.
Users have reported not being able to access the service since Saturday, according to Chinese social media posts.
The translation feature is no longer available on Google Chrome browsers as well for users in China.
“The Translate service has been discontinued in China due to low usage. It is not clear how many users are using Google Translate in China,” Google said in a statement.
The American technology company has a strained relationship with China. In 2010, Google pulled its search engine from the Chinese market, after it became unwilling to comply with the country’s censorship rules.
China later moved to ban other Google services such as Gmail and Google Maps.
Most Western social media platforms and services, including those of Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are usually banned by Chinese authorities, as the government seeks to maintain strict censorship rules.
Chinese platforms should strictly adhere to these rules and monitor keywords and topics that authorities consider politically sensitive.