Problems with Gmail in recent weeks are the result of increased snooping by the Chinese government terrified that recent revolutions in north Africa will somehow spread east.
Users say they can access their Gmail accounts, but then find that they can't send or load mails. Others have been unable to access the site or get into their accounts at all.
But Google told the FT: "This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail."
The company said there were no technical problem with the service, apart presumably from the Chinese government crawling all over it.
Users reported various issues with the site, making it more difficult to check how the service is failing.
Virtual private network providers in China are also reporting more disruption than usual. ®