China has blocked Gmail again and there is no accessibility option for the Chinese, other than using a VPN or changing to another email.
The recent blocking in accessing Gmail from China reveals the strictness of the Great Firewall and the troubled relationship of the Government with Google, leaving all Chinese frustrated and in search of a more reliable and stable email host.
The Great Firewall is the censorship scheme of China against foreign interventions and international influence on Chinese people. Google has learnt this the hard way, as there have been numerous different occasions of Gmail and of course Google search engine being cut off for China.
The most recent event was initiated on Friday and goes on to this day, with many people expressing their distress and their frustration for Google products in general. Instead of turning to Gmail, Chinese people have been thinking of finding some effective alternatives that can save them the trouble of figuring out how to overcome the censorship applied to such services from their Government.
We all recall the last censorship incident of Gmail for the glorious country of China, just days before the celebration of the 25th anniversary after the protests in Tiananmen Square. Now, things are even worse – there is no access for Chinese people to Gmail, even through applications and PCs using POP/SMTP Internet protocols. A member of GreatFire.org called Percy commented on the recent changes: “All Google products have been severely disrupted since June this year and Chinese users couldn’t access Gmail via its web interface since then.
However, email protocols such as IMAP SMTP and POP3 were accessible, but not anymore. Those protocols are used in the default email app on iPhone, Microsoft Outlook on PC and many more email clients.
On Dec 26, GFW starts to block large amount of IP addresses used by Gmail. Those IP addresses are used by IMAP/SMTP/POP3. Chinese users now have no way of accessing Gmail behind the GFW. Before, they could still send or receive emails via email clients even though Gmail’s web interface is not accessible. Google’s own traffic chart shows a sharp decline of Chinese traffic to Gmail.”
This leaves no other way for somebody who seeks to access Gmail, but to turn to the use of a VPN account. It seems that a Virtual Private Network is the sole solution that can help Chinese people to mask their IP address and bypass the heavy censorship applied against Google as a whole. With such a tool, everyone can rest assured that no Government or other prying eye can ever track his digital presence or even prevent him from accessing online content internationally.
It is ironic that a misinterpretation of Google search engine being left uncensored just for a day on 15th December left room for an alleged deal between the Government and Google. Nevertheless, such speculation turned out to be mistaken and the blocking of the search engine (along with the addition of Gmail) still deteriorates the web experience of the Chinese. Thankfully, the world doesn’t end here for people in china!
Top/Featured Image: By Google / Wikipedia (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gmail_logo.png)