China blocks access to Google's Gmail service

Google's popular email service has been blocked in China, and anti-censorship advocates are blaming the country's mass censorship apparatus—known as the Great Firewall of China—as the likely culprit.

Data from Google shows that traffic to Gmail from Chinese servers has dropped close to zero since Friday, The New York Times reported.

People who wish to access their Gmail accounts in the country will need to use a virtual private network, which can allow access to blocked sites and services.

"It's becoming harder and harder to connect and do work in China when services like Gmail are being blocked," Zach Smith, a digital products manager based in Beijing at City Weekend magazine, told Reuters. "Using a VPN seems to be the only answer to doing anything these days online in China."

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Google services, which include Gmail, Google Drive and Google Hangouts, have experienced major disruptions since June in mainland China and people have only been able to connect to the services through email protocols that allow Gmail accounts to be accessed through Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail on iPhone.

Before that, Google services were blocked in 2009 and 2012 in China. In 2010, Google publicly said it would no longer censor its search engine in China.

—Reuters contributed to this story.