Google To Stop Self-Censoring Search In China [Google, Censorship]

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 13, 2010
Updated • Jun 2, 2016

Google's Chinese search engine was launched in January 2006. Google agreed back then to censor some of the results which in the opinion of company officials was better than not offering access to the search engine at all in China.

Google's stance on the issue has changed lately with the uncovering of a targeted attack on the infrastructure of not only Google but at least 20 other large American companies.

A primary goal of the attack was to access Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists which - according to Google - did not really succeed as only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed.

This incident "combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web" have led Google to conclude that they should review their business operations in China.

"We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China" says David Drummond, SVP, Google's Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer.

Is Google really going all or nothing in China? Not really. Google explicitly stated that they will have talks with the Chinese government about this which means that they are willing to negotiate. It is also clear that Google does not have a problem with censorship if you look at Google's search engines in other countries.

Update: Google's Chinese search engine is still available, but redirecting to the company's Hong Kong based search engine at the moment. If you open in a browser, a static image is displayed instead of a search engine even though it depicts how the search engine looks like.

A click anywhere on the image loads the Google Hong Kong search engine instead from where searches can be run.


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  1. carryanne said on February 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    It will be very hard to negotiate non censorship in CHina. Without censorship, the party would be exposed for what is is, and people would all be unblindfolded. The blindfold is the party’s tool for power, so why would the party give that up?

  2. Antony said on January 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I don’t think that Google really want to leave the Chinese market, they’re running business, aren’t they?
    So just follow Chinese Government rules and laws, maybe Google forgot that they’re a guess in a foreiner country.
    Also I don’t really understand America’s upset behaviour, can we imagine China building in USA then they decide when and what as they like?
    Will Obama or Clinton accept it?

  3. DanTe said on January 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Just thought of something. This could be a great marketing ploy in China, where Google is an also ran against Baidu. If the Chinese hears Google is not censored or that it stands up to commies, they may flood to it – boosting Google market share.

    Or Google could finally have gotten its conscience back. You know, that hypocritical statement of theirs: Do No Evil.

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