China restricts access to Gmail

APTOPIX China Google

Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — Connections to Google Inc.’s popular email service have been blocked in China amid efforts by the government to limit access to the company’s services.

Records from Google’s Transparency Report show online traffic from China to Gmail dropped to zero on Saturday, although there was a small pickup on Monday.

Calls to the regulator, the China Internet Information Office, were unanswered Monday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not confirm the block but said China welcomes foreign investors who legally conduct business in China.

Google closed its mainland China search engine in 2009, saying it would no longer cooperate with the country’s censors. That followed hacking attacks traced to China aimed at stealing the company’s operating code and breaking into email accounts.