Internet restrictions have always been one of my biggest gripes about living in China. Since we arrived, I haven’t been able to use You Tube or Facebook, and it is impossible to access any blogs at services like Blogspot or WordPress.
But all of that has been tolerable given that they haven’t messed with gmail access. Unfortunately, all of that has begun to change. Since about March of this year, nearly everyone I know with a gmail account has begun having problems consistently accessing the service. At Tian’s work, it is now virtually impossible to access for all teachers. In our home, the access is inconsistent and connections often last only a minute, making responding to emails a chore.
At the end of March, Google officially accused China of discretely blocking the service in such a way that made it look like the problem was on Google’s end. For example, it is possible to sign into iGoogle’s homepage, but any Google tools like gmail, calendar, and docs are unaccessible. The tactic makes it less obvious what is going on but still results in massive frustration and exodus from Google’s services. A lot of teachers at Tian’s school have already switched email providers.
I am hoping to get through my last two months in China without having to change email providers, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I could always purchase a proxy, but for two months, it hardly seems worth it. This type of internet restriction is one thing I am definitely not going to miss about China.