Gmail has been blocked in China after months of disruptions that led to third-party email clients being used by many locals and foreigners. Third party clients were necessary as many people in the country rely on Google’s Gmail service for all of their personal and business email needs.
The Gmail disruption in China began last Friday and Google soon reported zero traffic from Chinese servers.
Companies that rely on Google for their corporate email accounts will now need to employ software known as VPNs, or virtual private networks. Those networks allow the companies to operate their email accounts from outside of the country.
Before the government’s email tightening controls, users were able to download Gmail to clients like Apple Mail or Microsoft’s Outlook. Emails were downloaded using IMAP, POP3 and SMTP protocols.
Google and China have not gotten along over the last decade. Paranoid government officials in China claim that Google is part of a massive Western conspiracy aimed at undermining the Chinese government. Officials have been up in arms with Google ever since the company refused to censor its search results. At one point the company moved its operations to Hong Kong in an attempt to subvert regulations that are followed by China’s largest search engine, Baidu.
A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, was asked at a regularly scheduled news conference in Beijing about the blocking. She said she knew nothing about the complete shutdown of Gmail in the country. “China has consistently had a welcoming and supportive attitude towards foreign investors doing legitimate business here,” she said. “We will, as always, provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign companies in China.”
Google is not the only U.S. tech company being denied full access to users in China, the country has fully blocked Facebook, a move that led CEO Mark Zuckerberg to read the book Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, in an attempt to gain a better understand of the country’s rules and regulations, and therefore eventually gain access to its massive user base.
In an attempt to squash free speech, the country also blocked The New York Times and Bloomberg news after the two organizations published their own stories about the family wealth of party leaders throughout the country.
China is known for what many internet users call “The Great Firewall.”
Are you surprised that Gmail was blocked by China in its entirety?
This article was written by James Kosur from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.