The battle between Google and the Chinese Government continues, with the search engine now accusing China of interfering with its Gmail service. A Google spokeswoman announced, in a statement yesterday, that after extensive examination, the company concluded Chinese Gmail users' recent problems with the service are not being caused by an error on Google's end, but that "this is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail."
Google has received several complaints recently from Chinese Google users and advertisers who have had problems, for example, sending emails and saving unread messages. "In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake in Japan, Google set up an application to help people find relatives and friends lost in the disaster," The Guardian's Dominic Rushe reports. "This service too seems to have been compromised." Google is also concerned that Chinese human rights activists, in particular, are being attacked by the government via interference with their Gmail accounts.
Business Insider's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is convinced that the reason "Google, which is the fastest website in the world from most countries, tends to be slower in China than Baidu," is governmental interference. "What most people in the West don't know about China's infamous Great Firewall is that in most cases it doesn't 'block' offending websites outright," he explains. "More often, it makes them so slow as to be practically unusuable, so that average users will think it's the site that's not working and leave in frustration. And most of the time a site is actually blocked, the message will look like a server error instead of "THE COMMUNIST PARTY DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE THIS."
Attacks on activists' Gmail accounts by the Chinese government have been suspected since this January, according to Reuters. That's one year after Google officially refused to censor Chinese users' search results.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.