Even when there are no sensitive anniversaries in the offing, using Google in China is difficult. Often it’s so agonizingly slow that one must first launch a virtual private network before utilizing Gmail, search, and Google Translate.
In recent days, slow has turned into inaccessible as the government girds for the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. “In an effort to prevent the dissemination of information related to this event, the Chinese censorship authorities have severely blocked most Google services in China, including search and Gmail,” wrote Greatfire.org, a site that monitors the Chinese net, in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “Our gut feeling is this disruption may be permanent.”