Google’s Gmail appears to have been blocked in China after months of disruptions to the service. On Friday, Chinese users reported a “severe disruption”, according to GreatFire.org, which monitors online censorship in China.
Since June, the government has restricted access to the Gmail web client, but many users had been able to workaround the restrictions by using clients like Apple Mail or Outlook to Gmail’s IMAP, SMTP and POP3 servers. But now it seems as if the IP addresses used by those protocols have been blocked, too.
Over the weekend though, there was a large drop-off in Gmail traffic from China, as Google’s Transparency report shows:
A Google spokesperson referred me to the transparency report, but also said “We’ve checked and there’s nothing technically wrong on our end.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told Reuters today that she did not know anything about Gmail being blocked.
Gmail users in China will now have to try to access their inboxes via a VPN service until (and if) service is restored. China first blocked Gmail, along with other sites like Google Calendar, Google+ and Google Drive, in June around the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.