Nothing is ‘blocked’. Beijing experienced a pretty big routing failure and lots of sites are very intermittent or appear inaccessible for lots of China Telecom subscribers (not sure about Unicom). I’m on StrongVPN right now. It was dropping frequently all morning. Lots of my company sites/client VPN were also unavailable or available intermittently.
I have to say I’m not so sure with gmail. I opened gmail accounts for some of my office staff a while back for the docs feature, but abandoned the idea because of continued failed attempts to log in. I was always fine so long as I was on my VPN, but anytime I tried to login on Chinanets (Telecom/Unicom) I would have sporadic service.
I never really have trouble logging into gmail. Some of the time the chat feature doesn’t work and 95% of the time the other google features don’t work (docs, calender, images, etc..) but I usually don’t run into problems checking my mail.