News / Asia

Google Says China Blocking its Email Services

Chinese youths use computers at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, 2006 (FILE).
Chinese youths use computers at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, 2006 (FILE).

Google is reporting email disruptions in China, where users have had difficulty accessing the company’s Gmail program.  

Computer users in China have had sporadic access to their Gmail accounts in recent weeks.  For some, access is inconsistent.  For others, it  has been completely blocked.

The California-based computer company Google, which offers Gmail, issued a statement saying it is not having any technical problems with its main website or Gmail service in China.  It said the problems are "government blockage, carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail."

China’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment, and did not respond to questions submitted last week about Gmail service problems.

China has some of the strictest Internet controls in the world, and already blocks public access to a wide range of websites with content it deems illegal or pornographic.

Mark Natkin, with Marbridge Consulting, says he thinks the Chinese government may be responsible for the latest problems with Gmail.

"The service seems to be working fine outside China.  We have talked to individuals located immediately outside of mainland China, all of whom have reported that their Gmail service is working without disruption.  So, it seems that it is almost certainly something that the authorities here are doing," he says.

The new controls may be related to events in the Middle East, adds Natkin, where popular uprisings have led to leadership changes in some countries.

"I think this is much more closely related to the upheaval in the Middle East and concerns that there might be people calling for a similar activity in China."

He says he hopes the situation in China will be relaxed after, in his words, "things settle down" in the Middle East.

Chinese microblogs have blocked searches for words like "Jasmine," following Internet calls from abroad for Chinese to hold their own "Jasmine Revolution," similar to the Middle East protests.

Some Chinese users like Gmail because it includes Gchat, which is an instant messaging service that allows users to talk to each other via video.

One Beijing college student, who did not give her name, says she has noticed problems with her account in recent weeks, especially to her Gchat function.

Her Gmail account is not stable, she says, and that if she wants to communicate with people on Gchat, she has to refresh her web page or completely log in again.  But she adds that if the Chinese government indeed is to blame for the latest problems, then she would want to use Gmail even more.

Another Beijing college student who also has a Gmail account says he has not had much difficulty because his university has its own computer network that allows access to some sites that are publicly blocked.

He also did not give his name, but pointed to Google’s high-profile decision last year to pull out of China.

He says after that, Google’s reputation among Chinese netizens went up.  He also says many people have the impression that Google services like Gmail can evade government blocks, so he thinks it is natural that the Chinese government would want to target Google.

Last year, Google pulled its Chinese language Internet search engine from China and relocated it to Hong Kong, where there are fewer controls, because of cyber attacks and concerns over Chinese government censorship.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid