1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Access to Gmail restricted in China

December 30, 2014

Beijing appears to have blocked all remaining ways to access Gmail, according to Google and Internet monitoring organizations. The move is being seen as Beijing's attempt to stifle freedom of expression.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Users in China were unable to access their Gmail accounts, Internet monitoring organizations told media on Monday.

Google's office in Singapore also said that traffic from China had experienced a sharp drop on Friday and saw minimal rise on Monday, according to their Transparency Report, which shows real-time traffic to Google services.

"We've checked and there's nothing wrong on our end," the company said in a statement.

"I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google's presence in China and even weaken its market overseas," a member of China-based freedom of speech and advocacy group, GreatFire.org, told Reuters news agency.

However, Chinese officials denied interrupting services from Google. Foreign ministry spokesperson Han Chunying said she did not have any information about the company's services being blocked and that China would "always provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign investors."

Meanwhile, Washington expressed concern over Beijing's alleged actions.

"We encourage China to be transparent in its dealings with international companies and to consider the market signal it sends with such acts," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said.

Google closed its main search engine in China in 2009, saying it was not willing to cooperate with Beijing's censors. Access to Gmail has been blocked since June, according to GreatFire.org, but users were able to access the website through proxy servers.

China maintains a tight control over the web and is accused of heavyhanded censorship of any sign of dissent.

mg/rc (dpa, AFP, Reuters)