Gmail Blocked in China

kim kardashian

Chinese living in metropolitans such as Beijing and Shanghai is now like celebrating Christmas, but on boxing day this year, they received a frustrating surprise from their government, Gmail was blocked in China. In early June this year, by the time of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests the Chinese government censored and disrupted Gmail usage in China greatly.

China’s censorship of Google began four years ago,  due to Google’s refusal to curb its search engines on sensitive topics about Chinese leaders and politics in March 2010. Since then, Google has moved its Chinese search service to Hong Kong; many google products such as, Google+, Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Map have been disabled by the Chinse Government’s tightening grip of its internet usage in general. This time, after months of disruption, Chinese users of Gmail lost access to Gmail accounts even through third party mail services such as Microsoft’s Outlook and Apple’s Mail.

As showing on Google’s website, Chinese usage of Gmail dropped sharply to zero this Monday due to the severed censorship. The block of Gmail in mainland China caused trouble for many gmail users, including students awaiting their offer letter from US universities, foreign companies that use Gmail as their primary email service, and many foreigners and Chinese who work in China and rely on Gmail for communications. Luckily in Hong Kong and Macau, as Special Administrative Regions, Chinese mainland law and censorship cannot control its internet. However, China’s State Internet Information Office so far has not responded or addressed the recent censorship on Gmail. In today’s daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chun Ming said she was unaware of Gmail’s problem, and reaffirmed that the Chinese government “always welcomes foreign businesses to carry out relevant work in China.”

According to Wikipedia, 2701 websites are now blocked in mainland China, including major American  websites such as Facebook, Google, Youtube, and Twitter. In addition, due to foreign media’s detailed reports on several key political leaders’ corruptions and other domestic problems in China, websites like The New York Times (both English and Chinese), Guardian, Bloomberg, and BBC were also blocked in China. The Chinese Internet censorship effort, the GFW (Great Firewall), has angered many Chinese Internet users and they have been expressing frustration on Chinese social media such as Weibo and Wechat Moments ever since Gmail went down.

However, Internet users can still access their Gmail accounts by using VPN (Virtual Private Network) services, which allows users to access blocked websites by bypassing the Chinese government censorship. But as the government’s control over internet tightens, many free VPN services have been disabled or disrupted, many paid services are experiencing unstable service function in recent months.

Via Techinasia



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