ifg 發表於 2014-12-30 14:04:07

Gmail Now Even More Inaccessible In China

by Catherine Shu, TechCrunch

China has made it increasingly difficult to use Google services, including Gmail, this year. Now Gmail users are blocked from a workaround that allowed them to access their emails through third-party services.

Previously, people could still download messages through apps like Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook, which use POP, SMAP, and IMAP. Now it appears that these servers have also have been blocked by China’s Great Firewall. This means users in China will only be able to access Gmail through a VPN service.

Google’s own Transparency Report shows a dramatic drop-off in traffic to Gmail from China that started on Friday. A Google spokesperson for Asia said “we’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end.”

Gmail China


While Google has been subject to censorship since launching Google.cn in 2006, China has recently imposed even stricter limitations on its services. In June, before the 25th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre, China blocked several Google sites, including Google+, Gchat, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive.

ifg 發表於 2014-12-30 14:06:56

December 29, 2014, 3:40 PM HKT, WSJ
China’s Censors Take Final Step in Blocking Gmail

China has upped the ante in its longstanding censorship of all things Google. In the six months since Google’s mail service Gmail was blocked in mainland China, users had been able to access it using third-party email applications such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.

Beijing now appears to have closed the loophole, completely shutting down access to Gmail behind the so-called Great Firewall. Google data showed Gmail appeared to have been walled off starting Friday. Google spokesman Taj Meadows acknowledged the drop in traffic and said Monday that “there’s nothing wrong on our end.”

China’s State Internet Information Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. At a daily press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she wasn’t aware of the matter. She added that the government “always welcomes foreign businesses to carry out relevant work in China.”

Beijing doesn’t always publicize its reasons for shutting down websites, permanently or temporarily. In the past, such censorship has tended to coincide with periods of politically sensitive anniversaries or big political conferences in the capital like its annual legislature.

The last time Google came under such attack was in June, ahead of the 25th anniversary of Beijing’s deadly suppression of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. During that round, Google’s suite of services including Google+, Gchat and Drive were all shut down. It was the first time that Beijing had blocked Google services to such a significant extent ahead of a Tiananmen anniversary.

The Wall Street Journal’s English- and Chinese-language websites were also blocked around that time.

Google clashed with Beijing in 2010 after the company decided to stop censoring its Internet search results in China. Google shifted most of its Chinese operations to Hong Kong as a result, and it has been hard since then to access the company’s services on the mainland.

As with Google search functions, Gmail users will now have to access the application through virtual private networks or other censorship circumvention channels, putting the email service on par with Facebook and Twitter in the eyes of Beijing censors.

–Chuin-Wei Yap, with contributions from Yang Jie
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