Gmail returns for some in China

Some Chinese users of Gmail are able to use the popular email service again, days after a massive outage that blocked people from the Google product.

Google’s internal metrics on Tuesday showed that some people in China were beginning to regain access to the service through third-party tools such as smartphones or email programs like Outlook.

{mosads}Usage is still about one-fifth of China’s normal portion of global traffic, however, so Gmail is far from back to full service.

Google has denied that it has experienced any technical problems, leading many to assume that China blocked people’s access to Gmail in recent days as part of an escalating standoff with the Silicon Valley giant. Direct access to Gmail, as well as many search and other functions, was largely halted this summer ahead of the 25th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square protests.

The state-owned Global Times newspaper seemed to dismiss the notion that China was behind the blocking.

In an editorial Tuesday, the newspaper said that blaming China “is far too simple a hypothesis” and accused Google of showing “reluctance” to obey Chinese law.

“If the China side indeed blocked Gmail, the decision must have been prompted by newly emerged security reasons,” the newspaper said. “If that is the case, Gmail users need to accept the reality of Gmail being suspended in China. But we hope it is not the case.”

The standoff between China and Google stretches to 2010, when the Internet company moved its Chinese operations to Hong Kong in an attempt to skirt censorship laws.

The government’s skepticism of American tech firms extends to other companies as well, a part of a censorship regime dubbed the Great Firewall. 

Tags Gmail Google Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China

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