Update on Google vs. China Dispute: Google Gives In
Article by George Norman
On 30 Jun 2010
As you may remember, after a “highly sophisticated” hacking attack that occurred on Google’s corporate infrastructure, the Mountain View-based search engine decided that it is no longer willing to censor search results on Google.cn, the Chinese version of Google search. After long talks with the Chinese authorities, talks that lead nowhere, Google decided to redirect Google.cn visitors to Google.com.hk – that’s Google Hong Kong; on Google Hong Kong, Google does not censor search results. Google also decided to phase out Windows usage, but that is a whole other matter.

That’s the story on the Google vs. China debate; now here is the update. To operate in China, Google needs an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license; the license is up for renewal on the 30th of June, which is today.


The catch is that the Chinese authorities find the redirect from Google.cn to Google.com.hk unacceptable. As SVP of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer with Google, David Drummond explained, the Chinese authorities will not renew Google’s ICP license if Google continues to redirect Google.cn visitors to Google.com.hk.

No ICP license means that Google.cn will have to be shut down. As you can imagine, having Google “go dark in China” is not something Chinese users look forward to. Consequently many of them have expressed their desire for Google.cn to remain online.

“We have therefore been looking at possible alternatives, and instead of automatically redirecting all our users, we have started taking a small percentage of them to a landing page on Google.cn that links to Google.com.hk—where users can conduct web search or continue to use Google.cn services like music and text translate, which we can provide locally without filtering. This approach ensures we stay true to our commitment not to censor our results on Google.cn and gives users access to all of our services from one page. Over the next few days we’ll end the redirect entirely, taking all our Chinese users to our new landing page,” explained David Drummond.

Tags: Google, China
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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