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Why Cant I Access My Gmail Account In China?
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Gmail users in China are beginning to ask themselves why they can't access their accounts. In the past two weeks, perhaps in response to the Twitter Revolution in Egypt and rumours of a similar event called the "Jasmine Revolution" in China, China has restricted access to Gmail accounts.

By "restricted" I mean that it has not completely block, but has made users of Gmail and other Google services really put forth an effort to continue using their services. Google tool like Google Keyword Tool, Google Trends, and Google Analytics are all plagued with a kind of 'hit and miss' ability to access, while Gmail is often so slow that users need to use the Basic HTML version before they can access their mail. Users unable to access their Gmail accounts may also be related to Google's recent change of server location and the decision to switch to the more secure https encryption.

Google using https has caused a number of waves among Chinese officials, who are rumoured to have hacked or in some way be related to a serious of information property theft last year. Though Chinese officials deny any involvement, Google has said that the accounts that were hacked were those of Chinese human rights activists and the IP of the hackers were Chinese. It's like a kid with black teeth telling you it wasn't him who ate the Oreo's.

Perhaps an attempt to discourage more Chinese users from using Gmail, the occasional blockings and restricted access to gmail accounts in China has encouraged expats as well as Chinese users to seek other methods of accessing their accounts, such as proxies and vpns. This has also has repercussions in just the last week.

Four of the largest vpn names in China were blocked temporarily or permanently. After events in Egypt kicked off and the ensuing blocked access of Gmail accounts, many began turning to vpn's in China, a secure way to access information outside of The Great Firewall. However, the increased traffic to these vpn providers caught the attention of Chinese officials and the popular sites were subsequently blocked.

Since the initial block, two sites (Strongvpn and Freedur) have since come back online, but many are preparing for a second wave of blocks. Speaking for myself, I will continue to use Google because it is a great service, but because it's more and more inconvenient to access my gmail account, I may consider switching to a less controversial company.

Get up to date news on the state of Google in China or read more about how to get a vpn in China. If you're in China you should know that blocked PPTP and L2TP protocols may signal an increasing need for a vpn in China.


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