The Chinese government began to block access to Gmail in the country as of last Christmas. According to Google’s transparency report, access to the service has fallen sharply since December 25 and, according to the company, there is no problem with its servers that explains the situation.
The Chinese government, however, has not yet taken the blame for the Gmail disruption, but it is not difficult to attribute the blame. Several Google services are barred in Chinese territory, such as Maps, Drive and YouTube, and since the middle of the year, the company’s email has also started to be sabotaged with the approaching 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, that happened on June 4th this year.
Thanks to this, it was difficult to enter Gmail in China, but it is not impossible, since applications were able to access it through IMAP, POP and SMTP protocols, which is no longer a possibility. Now, the only chance that the Chinese have to access Google’s email service through VPNs, the virtual private networks, which are able to mask access.
Of course, the search company has a lot to lose from this. In addition to losing access to a gigantic market, Gmail may lose share in countries that do business with China. “Imagine if Gmail users can no longer contact their Chinese customers. Many people outside of China may be forced to abandon Gmail, ”says a representative for GreatFire.org, an opposition digital censorship group.
Several other companies suffer from censorship in China, where sites like Twitter and Facebook cannot exist, but Google seems to have more problems operating in the most populous country in the world, in theory for not complying with the demands of the local government, while competitors like Microsoft and Apple work without major problems.
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Google Gmail China Censorship