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Gmail Gets Blocked In China After Months Of Disruptions

December 29, 2014 - Written By Kristijan Lucic

It’s not exactly a secret that many Google services are blocked in China. This is actually the reason why many users outside of China avoid some solid Chinese smartphones, they just don’t want the hassle. It’s relatively easy to sideload Google apps on the majority of those phones, but some of them are a lost cause. Unfortunately we just got more bad news as far as the censorship in China goes, this is really getting frustrating and I really hope things will turn around soon.

Unfortunately, Gmail was blocked in China as well after months and months of disruptions to Google’s mailing client, reports Reuters. Many Gmail addresses were blocked in China on Friday according to GreatFire.org, which is a Chinese freedom of speech advocacy group. “I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google’s presence in China and even weaken its market overseas,” said a member of GreatFire.org, he continued: “Imagine if Gmail users might not get through to Chinese clients. Many people outside China might be forced to switch away from Gmail”.

Google’s Transparency Report displayed a huge fall in traffic to Gmail from China on Friday. “We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end,” said a Singapore-based spokesman for Google. The disrupting of Google services in China has been going on for a while, but it has become unbearable since June this year. Users could still access their Gmail accounts via IMAP, SMTP and POP3 protocols, it seems like that’s off the table now as well. The Great Firewall is to blame here for sure, which is world’s biggest internet censorship mechanism, basically.

“China has consistently had a welcoming and supportive attitude towards foreign investors doing legitimate business here. We will, as always, provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign companies in China,” said Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, suggesting she didn’t know anything about Gmail blocking. “It’s becoming harder and harder to connect and do work in China when services like Gmail are being blocked. Using a VPN seems to be the only answer to doing anything these days online in China,” said Zach Smith, a China-based digital products manager at City Weekend magazine, suggesting VPN is the way to go if you do any sort of business in China, unfortunately.

I really do hope such censorship in China will come to an end in the near future, though I don’t believe it will. What are your thoughts on all this?