The Chinese government has dismissed accusations by Google that it is hacking its Gmail service in order to supress political debate.
Wideapread reports suggested that users in the region have had difficulty sending emails, accessing accounts and carrying out other tasks for several weeks.
"There is no technical issue on our side. We have checked extensively," said Google in a statement released to V3.co.uk yesterday. "This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail."
However, in a press conference held later the Chinese government disputed the accusation. "This is an unacceptable accusation," said ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, according to widespread reports.
Whern asked by V3.co.uk, Google refused to update its comments from yesterday, a stance that is unlikely to ease tensions between the two parties.
In 2010 Google moved its Chinese search business to Hong Kong to escape web censorship, in a move largely precipitated by a suspected state-sponsored hacking attack on its systems.
In March this year, Google warned in a security blog of "some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks" against some of its users, although China was not specifically mentioned.
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