Main­land state me­dia blame Google over block­ing of Gmail ser­vice

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­ter­net gi­ant Google’s un­will­ing­ness to obey Chi­nese law is to blame for the shut­down of its hugely popular email ser­vice, state- run me­dia said Tues­day after the last easy way to ac­cess Gmail was ap­par­ently blocked.

“China wel­comes the company to do business on the pre­req­ui­site that it obeys Chi­nese law; how­ever Google val­ues more its re­luc­tance to be re­stricted by Chi­nese law, re­sult­ing in con­flict,” the Global Times said in an ed­i­to­rial.

Gmail, the world’s big­gest email ser­vice, has been largely in­ac­ces­si­ble from within China since the run-up to the 25th an­niver­sary in June of the Tianan- men Square crack­down on prodemoc­racy demon­stra­tors.

Users could ac­cess the ser­vice by us­ing third-party mail ap­pli­ca­tions, rather than the web­page. But Jeremy Gold­korn, founder of Beijing-based Dan­wei which tracks Chi­nese me­dia and the In­ter­net, said those ways of con­nect­ing were also barred in re­cent days.

Some ac­cess seemed to be re­stored on Tues­day af­ter­noon, with some users say­ing they could down­load mes­sages.

Google’s own Trans­parency Re­port showed a slight uptick in traf­fic com­pared with the past two days, although the amount of users ac­cess­ing Gmail from China was still a frac­tion of what it was be­fore the block.

China op­er­ates the world’s most ex­ten­sive and so­phis­ti­cated In­ter­net cen­sor­ship sys­tem, known as the “Great Fire­wall.”

For­eign web­sites such as Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube are rou­tinely blocked and con­tent that the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party deems of­fen­sive is of­ten quickly deleted.

Google with­drew from China in 2010 after a fall­ing out with Beijing over cen­sor­ship is­sues.

“The is­sue at heart is to what ex­tent Google is will­ing to obey Chi­nese law, on which China’s at­ti­tude is stead­fast,” said the Global Times, which is close to the Com­mu­nist Party.

Ac­cess prob­lems

could

be “caused by the China side, by Google it­self or a com­bi­na­tion of the two,” it added.

A company spokesman told AFP on Mon­day that in­ter­nal checks found “noth­ing wrong on our end.”

If China did block Gmail, the Global Times said, it “must have been prompted by newly emerged se­cu­rity rea­sons” and users should “ac­cept the re­al­ity.”

“We only need to have faith that China has its own logic in terms of In­ter­net pol­icy and it is made and runs in ac­cor­dance with the coun­try’s fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests,” it added.

Nonethe­less it ac­knowl­edged: “We don’t want to be shut off, as it ob­vi­ously doesn’t serve our own in­ter­ests.”

But it may serve the in­ter­ests of Chi­nese busi­nesses. There was a surge in new sign-ups for a ri­val e-mail ser­vice run by Netease, ac­cord­ing to news web­site Chi­naByte.

Netease saw new users at a rate three to four times nor­mal in the past few days, Chi­naByte re­ported, cit­ing company of­fi­cials.

For­eign min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said she was “not aware” of the block­ing of Gmail when asked about the is­sue at a reg­u­lar press con­fer­ence Mon­day.

“I would like to stress that China al­ways wel­comes and sup­ports for­eign in­vestors’ le­gal business op­er­a­tions in China,” she said.

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