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China Blocks Google’s Hong Kong Redirect

Tensions rise after Google redirects Chinese users to an uncensored Hong Kong site.
March 23, 2010

The conflict between Google and China continued to escalate on Tuesday. The government criticized the search company’s decision to redirect Chinese visitors to its uncensored site in Hong Kong, and some users say the government has begun blocking sensitive results served up from that site.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted an official in charge of the Internet bureau under the State Council Information Office as saying, “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.”

As of this writing, Google’s service availability page suggests that its Web search is still available in China. But reports are surfacing that Great Firewall censors are already partially blocking the Hong Kong site, filtering out sensitive searches for terms such as “Tiananmen Square”.

While unsurprising, this move seems to confirm that redirecting users to Google’s Hong Kong site is not going to result in improved access. The obvious anger of the Chinese authorities makes it hard to imagine how Google will be able to continue operating an ad-sales business in mainland China.

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