Gmail is used by over a billion users throughout the world for business as well as personal purposes but is blocked in China. Not just Gmail, the entire Google service are blocked in the region.
To unblock Gmail in China, you will need a VPN that happens to work in China or otherwise you will have to refund it. Only a handful of VPNs work in China though.
PureVPN is our top recommendation that works successfully in China and happens to unblock Gmail and other Google services in China. Make sure that you should buy PureVPN before you travel to China.
How to Unblock Gmail in China
As it turns out, there are more ways than one to open Gmail in China, but the most effective way is through a VPN. Here are the steps to access Gmail in China:
Step 1: Sign Up with PureVPN subscription
Step 2: Download and Install the PureVPN client on your preferred device
Step 3: Log in with your PureVPN username and password
Step 4: Connect the VPN to a server outside of China such as the United States
Step 5: Visit Gmail and use the popular mail service
Why is Gmail Blocked in China?
The Chinese government blocks a wide range of popular services and websites. Gmail is only one among these. Google has a difficult relationship with China. The company took exception to the oppressive censorship that the Chinese officials imposed on user accounts on Google, as well as unwarranted privacy intrusions.
Image Credits: Andy Wong
In response to this, Google, in 2010, shutdown offices in China and redirected Google.cn (China) to Google.hk (Hong Kong), in order to allow Chinese users to use uncensored Google search. Unsurprisingly, all Google related services have since been blocked in China, including Gmail.
Other Sites and Apps Blocked in China
Chinese censorship is perhaps the strictest in the whole world. Imagine any social media or news website that publishes content with freedom. Chances are, this website will be blocked in China. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some websites with global popularity that are, unluckily, blocked for Chinese users:
What Email Works in China?
Gmail is undoubtedly the most popular service that people user for sending and receiving emails, but its censorship causes people In China to look for alternatives. It should be noted that other popular mail services like Hotmail and Yahoo work normally in China.
Moreover, there are several alternative services which deserve more notice and appreciation. Tutanota is one email service that is still operational in China. It provides end-to-end encryption for maximum security of your mail content as well as your contacts.
For personal use, it is free of cost. However, business need to purchase a premium subscription to make their account. Thus, Tutanota is a great alternative to Gmail that does not lack in any way when compared to Google’s service.
Traveling to China – Tips to Remember
If you are traveling to China, you will undoubtedly need to use the Internet for communicating with people back home, online banking, work-related tasks etc. It can be extremely frustrating to find yourself hindered from accessing Internet sites and services you might need urgently.
Therefore, here are some pieces of common wisdom to keep in mind while traveling to China:
- Prepare in Advance: Always download all services and apps you want to be using from China before you begin your travel. This is because many services are not only blocked in China, but they can’t even be downloaded from the mainland. So, make sure you load your phone and/or PC with the apps you expect to be using from China, including any VPNs.
- Use VPN even for Unblocked Sites: The Chinese government is notorious for its privacy invasions through surveillance of citizens. This means that your data is always being monitored, even if you are visiting a government-approved website. Thus, I would recommend keeping your data encrypted at all times to escape the eye of the government. VPNs can come be extremely handy in this regard.
- Avoid Publishing Anti-Government Content: Chinese authorities are especially stringent when it comes to bloggers and activists criticizing the government for its dictatorial policies. Although I am a staunch believer in freedom of speech, some prudence should always be exercised when you’re up against an oppressive and powerful government.
Censorship in China has darkened many areas of the Internet, putting it far out of the reach of people in the country.
The block on Gmail is a serious restriction on the ability of people to communicate through emails while they are in China. Although alternatives to Gmail are available, you can always use a VPN to unblock Gmail if it is your preferred mail service.
Our guide to unblocking Gmail in China with a VPN will provide you step-by-step analysis on it.