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I read in some places that Gmail.com is sometimes blocked. Is there a workaround so that I can access my email while I am in China?

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During my past trip I could access my Gmail account everywhere, but your mileage might vary –  Ivo Flipse Oct 2 '11 at 16:39
    
Gmail yes but some other Google services like google+ are blocked. –  Rincewind42 Oct 10 '11 at 9:25
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Just to add my own experience after my trip. I had no problem with gmail, docs, reader and maps. Picasa albums didn't seem to work well, Google+ I don't know. I was in Sichuan, Yunan, Guanxi and Hong Kong. –  Dani van der Meer Nov 4 '11 at 7:40
    
My own experience in Beijing is that Gmail works most of the time (Beijingers use the service themselves) and maps and docs may work or may not. This (websitepulse.com/help/testtools.china-test.html) is a site where you can check if a certain site is accessible in a specific part of China. Came in handy when I prepared my stay in Beijing. I'm not affiliated with it in any way, just a happy user. –  Bart Arondson Jun 28 '12 at 13:56
    
Yes, you can ues gmail service in China free –  user4805 Mar 8 '13 at 7:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 19 down vote accepted

My experience with China's internet has been "Have a backup plan" if you need access to some services.

You can use Google's Transparency Report for China to determine the current status of Google Services in PRC. As of writing, no it does not appear to be blocked.

However, there are cases where it has been - and it might happen while you are there. If GMail is a critical service to you - have a backup plan. Here are some solutions that have worked for me and others.

  1. Have your GMail forwarded to another service such as Hotmail. If GMail goes down, you can check the other service for email. it doesn't have to be Hotmail - just distribute your eggs to other baskets.

  2. A VPN/Proxy Server is also another solution - but China has occasionally blocked VPN traffic as well. However, again it is another option to consider.

  3. Keep friends / family informed. Let them know there is a possibility that you may lose access to email. Have access to other means of communication like SMS.

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When I was in Beijing, China this past January, I noticed email on a mobile phone (via wifi only) pushed via gmail's POP3 server seems to though without the hitch, even if the website keep timing out. –  Krazer May 28 '13 at 15:32

The short answer is, "yes, in most places at most times." But there are some important exceptions.

China occasionally gets into "tiffs" with Google, or other Internet providers, which could cause a service disruption. Also, there may be a crackdown against the internet generally, possibly including email. Here's an example:

http://moconews.net/article/419-china-cripples-android-with-fitful-blocks-of-gmail-market-apps/

As to places, China is a large country, and some places are less developed than others, with fewer T-1 lines, towers, etc. Also, in politically sensitive areas like Tibet and the Uighur northwest, there may from time to time be a crackdown directed against the local population (and their communications), that will affect "innocent" foreigners as well.

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It's never failed me over there.

Beware, however, that a SSL certificate failure results in nothing but an error message. On a Chinese computer (internet cafe) the error was entirely in Chinese. Since I don't read Chinese the result was totally cryptic. What actually happened was the computer's clock was exactly 3 years in the past.

The last couple of times I've been there Google itself was unusable, though.

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protected by Mark Mayo Mar 8 '13 at 7:21

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