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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More