Google have claimed that the Chinese government are blocking the Gmail service, after many users have complained they cannot access the site.
Users of Gmail in China have not been able to access accounts and have had issues sending email and using other services for the last two weeks.
Google issued a statement which said “There is no technical issue on our side, We have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”
China has the largest Internet population, with 457 million Web users, but they are very strict with the content they allow to be shown to their citizens. They block pornography, gambling and content which is critical of the Communist Party. They already block YouTube and social networking websites operated by Facebook and Twitter. Google moved their search engine service out of mainland China last year and have redirected users to Hong Kong to avoid having to comply with the countries web censorship rules.
There are fears that the Chinese government will become more aggressive over time and will start blocking more and more websites and services.