Google Inc's Gmail was blocked in China after months of disruptions to the world's biggest email service.
Anti-censorship advocates are suggesting the Great Firewall was to blame. The Golden Shield Project, also known as the Great Firewall of China, is a censorship and surveillance project operated by a division of the government of China.
Large numbers of Gmail web addresses were cut off in China on Friday, and frustrated users are reporting that service was still down on Monday.
"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. "Imagine if Gmail users might not get through to Chinese clients. Many people outside China might be forced to switch away from Gmail."
“They shouldn’t have blocked Google or Gmail; it’s against the spirit of the Internet,” Yuan Shengang, the chief executive of Netentsec, a Beijing-based cybersecurity company, said in a telephone interview with the New York Times.
Many contacts with the western world are through Gmail. Internet experts are concerned that this blockage may stop other countries from business interactions with China.
"It's becoming harder and harder to connect and do work in China when services like Gmail are being blocked," said Zach Smith, a Beijing-based digital products manager at City Weekend magazine.