Google has accused the Chinese government of disrupting Gmail in the country, making it difficult in the last few weeks for users here to gain access to the company’s popular e-mail service.
Google said that it was not having any technical problems with Google’s main website or Gmail service in China.
“There is no issue on our side; we have checked extensively,” Google said in a statement released Sunday. “This is a government blockage, carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”
Analysts who track web developments say that the Chinese government may be intentionally disrupting access to Google and other web services as part of a campaign to tighten internet controls and censor material.
Calls to China’s Foreign Ministry were not returned Sunday. Beijing has long had some of the world’s strictest internet controls. But after pro-democracy demonstrations broke out in West Asia in January, the Chinese government seems to have intensified effort to censor web content and disrupt web searches related to calls for similar protests in China.
The controls come about a year after Google removed its Chinese language internet search engine from China and relocated it to Hong Kong, where Beijing has few controls.
Google said its decision had been prompted by a series of major attacks on its website by Chinese hackers. Google suggested at the time that the sophisticated hacking attacks had the backing of the Chinese government.
Last March, the government sharply criticised Google’s decision to relocate its search engine. In a statement to the official Xinhua News Agency, the government said: “Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering its searching service and blaming in insinuation for alleged hacker attacks.”
©2011 The New York
Times News Service