According to Google’s real-time Transparency Report Tool, Google’s email services, essentially Gmail, is fully blocked in China and Google traffic in the country dropped close to zero (picture shown above) starting on December 26. Gmail’s website has been blocked in China since June, along with every other Google service, it had remained usable via IMAP/SMAP/POP in third-party email apps such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail. However, this newest crackdown seems to have shut that loophole, with Gmail’s IMAP, SMAP, and POP servers now fully blocked in China. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she did not know anything about Gmail being blocked, adding that the government was committed to providing a good business environment for foreign investors. "China has consistently had a welcoming and supportive attitude towards foreign investors doing legitimate business here," she said. "We will, as always, provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign companies in China." The latest move on Google services by Chinese Government was brought into light by Twitter posts by some users. "It's becoming harder and harder to connect and do work in China when services like Gmail are being blocked," said Zach Smith, a Beijing-based digital products manager at City Weekend magazine. "Using a VPN seems to be the only answer to doing anything these days online in China."