Google.cn Is No More

After months of conjecture over what the outcome of Google’s fateful blog post calling out China would be, Google.cn is out of operation. To be exact, all of Google’s China search services (Google Search, Google News, and Google Images) are being redirected to Google.com.hk where uncensored results are being offered to surfers in Mainland China. For the time being.

How long Google.com.hk remains unblocked from the Mainland remains anyone’s guess, but Google has prepared a China Service Availability page which shows the status of Mainland access to Google’s various services. With more than half of the list blocked or marginalized (like Youtube, Blogger, and Google Docs), the prospect for Google in Mainland China appears alarmingly bleak at the moment.

David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer posted in the Google’s Official Blog:

Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced—it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.

After being so blunt about China’s refusal to negotiate its terms of self-censorship, I’m not very optimistic about Google’s future in China. If you aren’t already, now’s a good time to suggest that you check out the VPN options available for all of you in Mainland China.

This news has just been released, so stay tuned for updates.

What do you think? Did Google make the right decision, or should they have stuck it out?

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14 thoughts on “Google.cn Is No More”

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  2. Not unlikely. It’s the case of 2 huge conglomerates. If Google backed-down they would be ridiculed as pansies. And we all know the Chinese govt. ain’t gonna pander to some western company even if it is Google.

    Waiting for .com.hk to be blocked…you’ll see

  3. China has to do something about this. It can’t be seen to be weak. I’m wondering if they will take back the google.cn domain for redirecting to a site which doesn’t comply with Chinese laws. It will be a bit extreme if they just block everything google.

  4. Seems like the general consensus is that google.com.hk will get blocked in the mainland. If that’s the case, it looks like Google is effectively out of China, save for Chinese Gmail users who definitely number in the tens of millions at least.

    • If Gmail gets blocked, things will start to really get out of control! I wonder how much leeway the government thinks they have. Google.com.hk is still accessible and uncensored as of now. I honestly thought they’d take quicker action.

  5. The more I think about this the more I believe Google has done the wrong thing. By pulling out of Chinese search they have deprived the Chinese people of what was the least censored and best regulated search engine. Now the Chinese government is using packet inspection to block whatever search terms they choose on google.com.hk. The only winners are Baidu, Bing and Yahoo who will end up taking Google’s slice of the search pie.

    I don’t believe any further Google services will be blocked as that will call more attention to the situation. Instead the Chinese government will retaliate in other areas, for example refusing to sell android based phones through the state owned carriers 🙁

      • “He said censorship had become more than a human rights issue and was hurting profit for foreign companies”

        So the US government will only consider taking action when profits are affected. I guess there is the possibility that foreign companies will make this situation snowball to the point that the Chinese government can’t ignore it. I don’t think they will back down though.

      • Obviously human rights crises with a loss/profit component as big as this receive priority, but I think someone has to stand up to what’s happening. The stakes are too high to remain complacent because the situation is worsening. It’s a risky move but only Google carries the influence and clout to blaze this trail.

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