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China moves to restrict access to Google

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by MziziMkavu, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Mar 27, 2010
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    Company began redirecting Chinese users to Hong Kong servers on Monday

    [​IMG]In this file photo, a Chinese flag flies over the company logo outside the Google China headquarters in Beijing. China accused Google of violating written promises when it redirected its search engine to Hong Kong.
    [​IMG] View related photos
    Liu Jin / AFP - Getty Images file staff and news service reports
    updated 12:56 p.m. ET March 23, 2010

    BEIJING - China moved to block access to Google's Hong Kong site, The New York Times reported Tuesday, after the Internet giant began redirecting tens of millions of Chinese users to its uncensored server in the former British colony.
    Google and China have been at odds for two months after the company said it would pull out part of its service if it had to keep censoring search engine results as required by Chinese law.
    On Monday, visitors to Google's old service for China,, discovered they were being redirected to the Chinese-language service based in Hong Kong, which is semi-autonomous and has greater freedoms. Google does not censor searches there.
    This prompted a furious reaction from China Tuesday.
    "Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering its searching service and blaming China in insinuation for alleged hacker attacks," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted an official in a statement issued just hours after Google's announcement.
    "This is totally wrong. We're uncompromisingly opposed to the politicization of commercial issues, and express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conducts," the unnamed official added.
    According to the New York Times, "Chinese users on Tuesday could not see the uncensored Hong Kong content because government computers either blocked the content or filtered links to searches for objectionable content before it reached them."
    Google's China urls and are now automatically redirected to
    Sensitive subjects censored
    AnNBC correspondent in Beijing reported that sensitive topics were unavailable despite Google's Hong Kong redirect.
    For example, searching for "Hu Jintao," the president's name, "Falun Gong," the name of a semi-religious sect frowned upon by the Chinese government, or "June 4th", the day of the Tiananmen Square massacre, in Google's Hong Kong site resulted in a message saying, "Internet Explorer can not display the Web page."
    Google's Gmail e-mail service remained accessible from within China, as did its news page, though attempts to call up specific articles on China were blocked.
    Google's Hong Kong page had heralded the shift Monday. "Welcome to Google Search in China's new home," it said. The site also began displaying search results in the simplified Chinese characters used in mainland China.
    It was not clear whether Google notified regulators in advance about the switch to the Hong Kong service.
    Degree of autonomy
    Although Hong Kong is part of China, it was granted a degree of autonomy when it was returned to Chinese rule by the U.K. 13 years ago.
    Its legal and political freedoms were largely preserved. That has made Hong Kong an appealing home base for companies operating in mainland China, which in turn has troubled Beijing, said Nicholas Bequelin, Human Rights Watch's senior Asia researcher.
    "China may also read this as a challenge to its sovereignty of Hong Kong," Bequelin said. Google's move "is probably going to put the heat on the Hong Kong authorities, (whose) leadership is handpicked by Beijing."
    In 2006, when it opened operations in Beijing, Google tried to better reach Web users in China by setting up, which returned tailored search results. That meant complying with rules requiring the omission of search results the government deemed subversive or pornographic. Google's pages for China noted that some results had been excluded. But the complicity sparked widespread criticism among Google supporters, including some of its own employees, who believed the company was violating its "Don't Be Evil" motto.
    The Chinese government uses filters to restrict the links that can be clicked by mainland audiences. It has completely shut off YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. China has an estimated 350 million Internet users.

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