According to Chinese state media, Google’s inability to comply with Chinese law was the reason for the shutdown of the Gmail service earlier this week.
An editorial piece by the Global Times, which is known to have close links to the Communist Party read: “China 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.”
“The issue at heart is to what extent Google is willing to obey Chinese law, on which China’s attitude is steadfast.”
The problems users encountered in accessing Gmail could be “caused by the China side, by Google itself or a combination of the two,” said the Global Times.
“If the China side indeed blocked Gmail, the decision must have been prompted by newly emerged security reasons. If that is the case, Gmail users need to accept the reality of Gmail being suspended in China,” it added.
The great firewall
China is known to operate the most comprehensive and sophisticated system for censoring online content in the world.
Many of the world’s largest websites are regularly blocked and comments made on sites such as Facebook and Twitter are routinely removed if the authorities in China deem them to be unacceptable.
China’s policy on censorship was said to be the reason that Google withdrew from Beijing in 2010.
Access to Gmail in China slowly being restored
According to a Google Transparency report, users are gradually being able to access Gmail in China after being unable to access the service for the last four days.
The Financial Times (subscription) also reported that some users could now access the email service, although comments posted on Twitter said that some people were still having problems logging into their accounts following the Gmail shutdown.