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China Blocking Gmail

Google has recently reported that there have been some email disruptions over in China stating that people are having trouble accessing Google’s Gmail program. Sporadic access to the email system has been experienced by users in China for weeks. Access has been reported as sporadic for some but completely blocked for others.

Google, which is based in California, offers the Gmail service and issued a statement saying that the company is not having technical difficulties with its main website or Gmail service in China. Google said that the problems are “government blockage, carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”

The Foreign Ministry in China had no immediate comment and has yet to respond to questions submitted about the problems in the country with Gmail. It is known that China has some of the strictest internet controls in the entire world and already blocks access to websites that contain content declared illegal or pornographic.

Matt Natkin, who works for Marbridge Consulting, has stated that he believes the Chinese government may very well be responsible for the problems in the country with Gmail. “The service seems to be working fine outside China. We have talked to individuals located immediately outside of mainland China, all of whom have reported that their Gmail service is working without disruption. So, it seems that it is almost certainly something the authorities here are doing.”

Natkin added that this may be a result of what is happening in the Middle East and the uprisings that have led to changes in leadership. According to Natkin, “I think this is much more closely related to the upheaval in the Middle East and concerns that there might be people calling for a similar activity in China.”

Microblogs in China have since blocked searches for certain words like “Jasmine” following internet calls from all over the world for China to hold their own “Jasmine Revolution”, similar to the ones in the Middle East. A lot of Gmail users in China like the service due to a feature known as Gchat, which allows instant messaging via text or video.

One report from a student in Beijing noted that she has experienced problems with her Gmail service, primarily Gchat. She stated that if the government is indeed responsible for these disruptions then that would only compel her to want to use the service even more.

Google did pull their search engine in the Chinese language out of China last year and relocated it to Hong Kong where there are fewer controls. Google did so due to cyber attacks as well as concerns over Chinese government censorship.

Source: VOANews.com – Google Says China Blocking its Email Services

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