Gmail has been completely blocked in China, following six months of disruption by government censors. Google’s Transparency Report reveals Gmail traffic in China dropping like a stone on December 25th.
The Chinese government has not claimed responsibility for the sudden drop in Gmail traffic from the country but a Google spokesperson told Reuters: “We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end.”
Anti-censorship group GreatFire.org says large numbers of Gmail addresses were cut off in China on Friday. Unsurprisingly, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told Reuters that she did not know anything about Gmail being blocked.
During the summer, Chinese government censors clamped down on Google services, as well as LinkedIn and other sites, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.
Although Gmail was affected in that crackdown, determined users in China could still access their accounts using IMAP, POP and SMTP. But now that loophole appears to have been closed. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are the last route to access blocked services.
Google relocated its search engine to Hong Kong from China in 2010, following allegations that the government had hacked into Gmail accounts belonging to prominent activists.
➤ Gmail blocked in China [Reuters]
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