It’s clear that most people aren’t experiencing a total internet blackout, but VPNs not working, and Google services not working all seem to be fairly common issues. Moreover, it seems that overseas sites loading more slowly than usual is a nearly universal issue, and many users also reported frequent disconnections when attempting to connect to overseas sites. Users in Beijing and Shanghai seemed to be most affected, with several users outside those two cities reporting no issues.
Greatfire.org, in its guide on how to access your Gmail despite blocking, examined why authorities prefer to disrupt internet services rather than cut them off entirely:
Partially blocking GMail may give users the impression that Google is to blame for offering an unstable service. If this strategy works, Chinese users may decide to switch to domestic providers, which operate under local censorship and surveillence conditions. Another explanation for this partial blocking may be that the authorities are nervous of fully blocking GMail. It’s one thing to block a social network or a foreign news website (like http://www.nytimes.com which was recently blocked). Losing access to your email is considerably worse – if you switch to a new provider, you lose all your contacts and your past emails. The government may be scared of a backlash from the urban, educated and young people who tend to use GMail, not to mention the businesses that rely on it.
[Via: Tech in Asia]