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Google Ends Censorship in China

google-cn.jpgIn January, Google announced that it would stop censoring search results in China following a large-scale cyberattack that originated in the country and targeted the Gmail accounts of human rights activists. Google made a commitment to either display uncensored results or to shut down and the company entered into talks with the Chinese government. These talks have now concluded, with Google reporting that the Government refused to compromise and held that censorship was required.

Despite this, Google has decided to provide Chinese users with uncensored results on Google Search, Google Images and Google News by redirecting people who visit to a version of their Hong Kong website,, in Simplified Chinese. The servers running this site are in Hong Kong and thus located outside of Mainland China. Google has warned users that the site may be temporarily inaccessible or slow due to the increased load.

David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer at Google, says Google “[hopes] that the Chinese government respects [its] decision”, but it is aware that the Chinese government can block access to the website if it wishes. A webpage to track the availability of its services from within Mainland China has been created. Currently Web, Images, News, Ads and Gmail are accessible, with Docs, Picasa and Groups being partially blocked and YouTube, Sites and Blogger being completely blocked.

Xinhua, a state-controlled press agency in China, ran an article yesterday criticizing Google for “groundlessly accusing the Chinese government of supporting hacker attack against it to pushing China abandon the legal regulations on the Internet by threatening to withdraw from the Chinese market” and for “playing an active role in exporting culture, value and ideas.” The article belittles the significance of Google leaving China and its attempt to change the Government’s policy on Internet censorship. Furthermore, it urges Google not to “politicalize itself”.

Posted in Tech.

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