Google's Gmail Now Fully Blocked in China

Google Offices - H 2014
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

Censors have reportedly closed a loophole that allowed users to access the email service via the likes of Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail

China has closed a loophole to completely block Google's Gmail service, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.‎

The email service has been disrupted in mainland China for about six months, but users have so far been able to access it via third-party email applications, such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.

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Censors now appear to have completely shut down access as of Friday, the Journal reported, citing a decline in traffic based on Google's own data. A Google spokesman on Monday acknowledged the traffic decline and said that "there's nothing wrong on our end."

China’s State Internet Information Office did not immediately comment, and it wasn't immediately clear if the shutdown would be permanent or temporary.

Google and China had a showdown in 2010 when the Internet giant stopped censoring its search results in the country and moved most of its Chinese operations to Hong Kong. Accessing the company’s services in mainland China has been difficult since, according to the Journal.

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The report said that people in China access Google services via virtual private networks or other ways around censors' measures. Gmail is also accessible that way.

Twitter: @georgszalai