Weeks of Google censorship and government disruption of Google Mail are fueling frustration for Internet users in China, as well as the concern that this may not be a temporary issue, but a long term one.

Google has been reporting receiving complaints for weeks, and today they officially accused the Chinese authorities of interfering with Gmail in a way “carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail”. That’s a really serious accusation, and one extremely unlikely to be made without some hard data backing it up.

The site in case isn’t completely blocked but site users report a multitude of problems, ranging from difficulties to loading the inbox or sending emails, to the chat function not working. At the same time, users have reported problems when using sites such as WiTopia, 12vpn and Strongvpn.com, which encrypt the Internet traffic and direct it through servers outside of China – a service which is user more and more to bypass the Internet censorship.

“Disrupting Gmail is equal to blocking our business correspondence,” a user named Zhang Yuming complained on Sina Weibo, the most popular of China’s Twitter-like microblogging services.

China has yet to provide an official reply to these matters, and it’s unlikely that they will. Chinese authorities have long blocked access to some sites, including Facebook and Youtube, and they often filter access to others.

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