Google is accusing the Chinese government for "politically motivated attacks" that have recently disrupted GMail service for some Chinese users. Reportedly the Chinese are going after activists thought to be behind the attempted protests. The move follows extensive attempts by the Chinese authorities to crack down on the "jasmine revolution" -- an online dissident movement inspired by events in the Middle East.
According to the search giant:
Chinese customers and advertisers have increasingly been complaining about their Gmail service in the past month. Attempts by users to send messages, mark messages as unread and use other services have generated problems for Gmail customers.
In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake in Japan, Google set up an app to help people find relatives and friends lost in the disaster. This service too seems to have been compromised.
"Relating to Google there is no issue on our side. We've checked extensively. This's a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail," said a Google spokesman.
The announcement follows a blog posting from Google on 11 March in which the firm said it had "noticed some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks against our users. We believe activists may have been a specific target." The posting said the attacks were targeting a vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser. The two firms have been working to address the issue. At the time, Google declined to elaborate on which activists had been targeted or where the attacks had been coming from.