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December 29, 2014

Gmail Now Fully Blocked in China

Chinese Users Can No Longer Access E-mail Messages Through Third-Party Apps

After butting heads with Google for eight years, it appears the Chinese government has taken its censorship of the technology titan’s sites a step further by fully blocking access to Gmail.

Although Google’s mail service has been blocked in China for the past six months, users were still able to access Gmail via third-party e-mail apps such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, which use POP, SMAP, and IMAP. Now, however, news reports indicate these servers have also have been blocked by China’s Great Firewall leaving users unable to access Gmail messages unless they use a VPN service.

GreatFire.org image

GreatFire.org image

China-based freedom of speech group GreatFire.org told Bloomberg in June that China would not only block Gmail as the government geared up for the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, but would likely make it permanent.

“In an effort to prevent the dissemination of information related to this event, the Chinese censorship authorities have severely blocked most Google services in China, including search and Gmail,” Greatfire.org said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “Our gut feeling is this disruption may be permanent.”

Although several months later, it appears China has taken the next step, confirming GreatFire.org’s fears.

Google has confirmed there are no technical glitches on its end causing the problem.

Google, in an e-mail statement to Bloomberg, said it has “checked extensively and there are no technical problems on our side.”

Google’s Transparency Report reveals a significant decline in Gmail traffic from China beginning mid-day on Dec. 26. It had dipped even further by Dec. 27 and has remained almost non-existent ever since.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters she was unaware of any government action to block Gmail, adding China remained committed to aiding foreign business ventures.

“China has consistently had a welcoming and supportive attitude toward foreign investors doing legitimate business here,” she said. “We will, as always, provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign companies in China.”


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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