China dismisses Google accusations on Gmail

BEIJING Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:35am EDT

A woman walks past the logo of Google in front of its headquarters in Beijing in this January 12, 2011 file photo. China's Foreign Ministry on March 22, 2011, said that it could not accept accusations from Google Inc that the Chinese government was making it difficult for Gmail users to access the service in the country. 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. REUTERS/Christina Hu/Files

A woman walks past the logo of Google in front of its headquarters in Beijing in this January 12, 2011 file photo. China's Foreign Ministry on March 22, 2011, said that it could not accept accusations from Google Inc that the Chinese government was making it difficult for Gmail users to access the service in the country. 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.

Credit: Reuters/Christina Hu/Files

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it did not accept accusations from Google Inc that the Chinese government was making it difficult for Gmail users to use the service in the country.

"This is an unacceptable accusation," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news conference, without elaborating.

On Monday, a Google spokeswoman said any difficulty users in China may have faced in recent weeks accessing Google's email service was likely the result of government blocks.

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.

On Monday, Google shares were up 2.8 percent, while Chinese rival Sina Corp rose 5.5 percent and Chinese search engine operator Baidu Inc rose 2.9 percent.

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 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.

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.

(Writing by Ben Blanchard and Lee Chyen Yee; editing by Chris Lewis)

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Comments (3)
marisa70394 wrote:
Is anyone really surprized that China denies the accusations? This is part of their long term strategy to defer any kind of criticism against any action they take to protect their authoritarian rule. In China, NOTHING is more important than protecting single party rule, and if it means destroying foreign businesses in China, killing protesting students, destroying the Tibetan and Uighur cultures, and tightening the grip on communications, then it will be done. NOTHING stand in the way – lock up dissenters (even Nobel laureates), create enemies with your neighbors, destroy the environment, and engage in history’s biggest ponzi scheme, to name a few. Google’s gmail is just one of many things China dislikes. It also hates facebook, youtube, twitter, and any other sort of communication tool the Chinese government can’t control. China has become the biggest prison in the world, and it’s sad that its inmates hardly even realize it has happened.

Mar 22, 2011 4:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Spacetime wrote:
So first of all, why doesn’t google comply with the law if it wants to operate in China’s market? It quit from China because of its childish attitude, and with the push from the US government.

Mar 22, 2011 9:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
youpii wrote:
If China is not happy with Google, why not simply block it like facebook, twitter, youtube, dailymotion, blogspot, imdb, etc?

Mar 22, 2011 11:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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