Beijing: Chinese cinephiles have cause for celebration after government censors lifted a ban on the popular IMDb (Internet Movie Database) website, which had been blocked for more than three years, the South China Morning Post reported.
Beijing had given no official explanation for blocking the site in January 2010 and did not say why it was available for viewing again Wednesday.
Some web users say the IMDb may have irked Chinese authorities by featuring a preview of "When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun" - a documentary about the Free Tibet movement led by the Dalai Lama - on its home page.
Movie buffs in China, especially those interested in foreign films, were frustrated by the ban.
The decision to unblock the site in both its English and Chinese versions has triggered intense debate on social-networking sites, with many suggesting the move coincides with the coming to power of a new leadership at the annual full session of China's legislature, the National People's Congress, in Beijing.
"Thank you, China's new leaders, this is wonderful," one web user wrote on Weibo, the Asian country's version of Twitter.
The decision also prompted speculation that other web sites could be "freed" soon, although another netizen downplayed the significance of the move.
"Don't have any expectations for the censors," the individual wrote. "Unblocking a movie site means nothing."
First Published: Friday, March 8, 2013, 16:23