Googleâ€™s unwillingness to obey Chinese law is to blame for the shutdown of its hugely popular email service, state-run media have said after the last easy way to access Gmail was apparently blocked.
â€œChina welcomes the company to do business on the prerequisite that it obeys Chinese law; however Google values more its reluctance to be restricted by Chinese law, resulting in conflict,â€ the Global Times said in an editorial.
Gmail, the worldâ€™s biggest email service, has been largely inaccessible from within China since the runup to the 25th anniversary in June of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
Users could access the service by using third-party mail applications but Jeremy Goldkorn, the founder of Danwei, a Beijing-based firm that tracks Chinese media and the internet, said that has also been barred by the government in recent days.
China operates the worldâ€™s most extensive and sophisticated internet censorship system, known as the â€œgreat firewallâ€. Foreign websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are routinely blocked and content that the ruling Communist party deems offensive is often quickly deleted.
Google withdrew from China in 2010 after a fallout with Beijing over censorship issues.
â€œThe issue at heart is to what extent Google is willing to obey Chinese law, on which Chinaâ€™s attitude is steadfast,â€ said the Global Times, which is close to the Communist party.
Access problems could be â€œcaused by the China side, by Google itself or a combination of the twoâ€, it added.
A Google spokesman said on Monday that an internal check had found â€œnothing wrong on our endâ€.
If China did block Gmail, the Global Times said, it â€œmust have been prompted by newly emerged security reasonsâ€ and users should â€œaccept the realityâ€.
â€œWe only need to have faith that China has its own logic in terms of internet policy and it is made and runs in accordance with the countryâ€™s fundamental interests,â€ it added.
â€œWe donâ€™t want to be shut off, as it obviously doesnâ€™t serve our own interests.â€
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was not aware of the blocking of the service when asked about the issue at a press conference on Monday.
â€œI would like to stress that China always welcomes and supports foreign investorsâ€™ legal business operations in China,â€ she said.
Article source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/30/google-gmail-shutdown-china