China recently blocked the Google-based Gmail service from its citizens. According to one anti-censorship advocate, a significant number of Gmail addresses were cut off on Friday.
Gmail – China eliminating Google’s presence
It was suggested that the great firewall was to blame. One of the members of the group who wishes to remain anonymous with a pseudonym, explained, “I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google’s presence in China and even weaken its market overseas. Imagine if Gmail users might not get through to Chinese clients. Many people outside China might be forced to switch away from Gmail.”
The transparency report for Google, which shows real-time traffic to Google’s services, showed a sharp drop-off from Friday. A representative for the search giant said it was nothing on Google’s end. Since last summer, many of Google’s services have been severely disrupted in China. Up until last week, Google’s users could access emails via protocols like POP3, IMAP, and SMTP, which let people communicate using Gmail through apps like Microsoft Outlook and Apple’s iPhone email. China has a history of limiting the internet as a way to keep anything that challenges the Communist party regime of its internet. Its tight security regulation system is often referred to as the “great firewall of China.”
Some critics have claimed China stepped up its game against foreign companies like Google in an effort to cut China’s internet of from the world. Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry representative, summed it up with the following: “China has consistently had a welcoming and supportive attitude towards foreign investors doing legitimate business here. We will, as always, provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign companies in China.”
Google’s disruption issues started on the 25th anniversary of the demonstration at the Chinese government’s crackdown on pro-democracy in Bejing. The setback could prove to be a huge setback for many China-based companies.