China blocks Gmail
Internet free-speech advocates report ongoing four-day service brownout
Google's email service Gmail has been partially blocked in China, according to a report from Reuters citing underground Internet activist group, GreatFire.org.
The disabling of large numbers email addresses happened on Friday and was, according to some users, still in effect yesterday.
GreatFire blamed the service outage on the so-called Great Firewall, China's renowned censorship system.
"I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google's presence in China and even weaken its market overseas," said a member of GreatFire.org, who uses a pseudonym.
In June Chinese authorities stepped up their campaign to disrupt Google services as pro-democracy activists prepared to observe the 25th anniversary of Beijing's Tiananmen Square incident on June 4.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson denied knowledge of Gmail's service brownout, insisting the ministry was committed to making life easy for foreign investors.
"China has consistently had a welcoming and supportive attitude toward foreign investors doing legitimate business here," said Hua Chunying. "We will, as always, provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign companies in China."