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Google Safe in Hong Kong but Still Censored in China

google-cn.jpgGoogle began offering uncensored results in Search, News and Images to its Chinese users yesterday by redirecting them to its Hong Kong website. Today, a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Information Services Department told Bloomberg that “Hong Kong respects freedom of information and its free flow…There are no restrictions on access to Web sites, including access to Hong Kong-based Web sites from China”. Freedom of speech and of the press are guaranteed by the Hong Kong Basic Law, which codifies the Chinese government’s “one country, two systems” policy and grants Hong Kong greater autonomy.

But while Google’s Chinese website may be safe in its new home, The New York Times reports that the Chinese government’s firewall continues to restrict access to certain results. Dubbed the “Great Firewall of China”, the system blocks access to websites and other Internet services that the Chinese government finds objectionable. However, the webpage that Google created to track the availability of its services from within Mainland China reports no change since Sunday and claims that Google Web, Images, News, Ads and Gmail continue to operate without impediment.

Google may have escaped the requirement to self-censor its results by redirecting Chinese users to, which is hosted in Hong Kong, but this does not ensure Chinese users’ access to uncensored results, as the Government can continue to use its firewall to restrict access or to block the site outright.

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