LONDON, 22 MARCH 2011 - China's government has rejected claims by Google that it is responsible for blocking its residents from accessing Gmail.
"This is an unacceptable accusation," said Jiang Yu, a representative of China's foreign ministry.
Over the past few weeks, internet users in China have reported difficulty with visiting Google's webmail service, Gmail. A number of web users have posted their experience of slow or inaccessible service on blogs and forums across the net.
Google said the Chinese government was to blame.
"There is no technical issue on our side. We have checked extensively," a Google spokesperson said. "This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail."
The Gmail access problems coincide with China's recent efforts to suppress any mention relating to the 'Jasmine Revolution', which began as an online call urging the Chinese people to protest the government.
The word 'Jasmine' and terms relating to the anti-government protests in the Middle East can no longer be searched for on the country's microblogs. China has also responded by arresting activists, harassing foreign journalists and deploying large police forces to prevent unrest.
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