Google accuses China of blocking Gmail

HONG KONG, March 21 Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:15am EDT

HONG KONG, March 21 (Reuters) - Google Inc on Monday accused the Chinese government of making it difficult for Gmail users to access the service in the country, the latest development in a rocky relationship between the two.

Google said any difficulty users in China may have faced in the past few weeks accessing its email service was likely to be the result of government blocks, a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

"There is no issue on our side, we have checked extensively," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail."

Gmail users in China said they were still able to log in to their accounts, but were unable to perform tasks such as sending email and accessing their address books.

Google's run-ins with the Chinese government began in January 2010, when the company said it was no longer willing to censor search results in the country. Previously, the company included a disclaimer on its China service that searches may not be complete because of local laws.

Searches for terms deemed sensitive by Chinese censors are routinely blocked. Chinese search engines such as that offered by Baidu Inc already voluntarily filter searches.

This is not the first time Google has accused China of interfering with its services. In January, Google said it had uncovered sophisticated China-based attacks on human rights activists using its Gmail service around the world.

The months-long censorship dispute that Google had with the Chinese government was a diplomatic flashpoint in Sino-U.S. Relations in 2010.

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed inquiry.

Censorship of Web content has intensified in China following calls on foreign websites for a "Jasmine Revolution", which are anti-government gatherings inspired by demonstrations in the Middle East and North Africa. (Reporting by Kelvin Soh in Hong Kong, Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing and Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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Comments (4)
tinga wrote:
here we go again with this nonsense from Google. but its probably not their fault. they are being misled by people who would love to see the Chinese government fail for their own gain. I don’t care for the Chinese government either but I report the truth. I have 2 Google email accounts and I have no trouble in the last month getting my emails. I get about 50 emails a day on both accounts and I have had no problem accessing them on my phone, tablet and laptop all inside China. I really don’t know what “difficulty” they are having. Have they tried re-booting?

Mar 21, 2011 8:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
GRRR wrote:
Could it be, that China doesn’t want persistent HTTPS?

Mar 21, 2011 9:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
soundsgood wrote:
A couple, we recently travelled around Asia with our own laptops and our own wireless router. Everywhere we went we simply plugged the router in to an offered port, and surfed the ‘net. In Thailand all was well, and then we flew to China. Facebook was blocked but we found Google services to be variable – sometimes working and sometimes not. We flew to Japan for a few weeks – where everything worked, and fast. With a new visa we returned to mainland China – and once again Facebook was blocked and Google services (we only use search and Gmail) were functional most of the time, but had times when things seemed a bit flaky. As we were in China for a few months we could appreciate how it would make people consider using other options. We left on a flight to Taiwan where we found all was well once again.
Coincidence? Definitely not. China blocks services and content it doesn’t want people accessing. Try going to the China Daily (Xinhua) site and search for Jasmine Revolution. Any mention of unrest in China? Then try BBC, Al Jazerra etc.

Mar 21, 2011 8:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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