Google stops censoring in China

The company is redirecting from its Chinese site to

Google has stopped censoring results in China, acting on a decision it made in January.

On Monday, Google stopped censoring Google Search, Google News and Google Images on, according to a blog post from Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

"Users visiting are now being redirected to, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong," he wrote.

As expected, the Chinese government didn't entertain allowing Google to continue operating an uncensored The Hong Kong work-around is "entirely legal," he said.

"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," Drummond wrote.

Google continues research and development work in China and maintains a sales team in the country. "All these decisions have been driven and implemented by our executives in the United States, and that none of our employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them," Drummond wrote.

On Jan. 12, Google shocked the world when it announced that it would stop censoring results in its China search engine,, because the company had been the victim of hacking attacks originating in China.

Through the attacks, hackers stole Google intellectual property and broke into the Gmail accounts of China human rights activists, the company said. At the time, Google said it would seek talks with the Chinese government over ways it could operate legally without censoring, although experts said the chances of that happening were at best slim.

If no middle ground was reached, Google said it would be willing to close and shutter its offices and operations in China, a drastic move considering China is one of the biggest and fastest growing Internet and telecommunications markets in the world.

Google has declined repeated requests in recent weeks to discuss its China impasse and it is not clear how much present and future revenue the company would forego by exiting China's search market. Analysys International expects China's search market to reach 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion) this year.

The impact on Google would be larger if it also stops providing online services like Gmail and Picasa, which it monetizes via online advertising, and its Android mobile operating system, which it licenses to mobile carriers, handset makers and PC vendors.

All along, Chinese government officials have said Google must comply with local laws if it wants to continue doing business in the country. They have also said China's government has never been involved in any cyberattacks against Google or anyone else.

After initial, combative announcement on Jan. 12, Google officials, particularly CEO Erich Schmidt, have sounded more conciliatory regarding the matter.

"We wish to remain in China. We like the Chinese people, we like our Chinese employees, we like the business opportunities there," Schmidt said during the company's earnings conference call on Jan. 21. "We'd like to do that on somewhat different terms than we have, but we remain quite committed to being there."

He also seemed to ease up on Google's original certainty that the hacking originated in China, describing the attacks as "probably emanating from China with the origin details unknown" and adding that the matter was "still under investigation."

After Jan. 12 and until now, Google continued to censor, blocking results about topics the Chinese government finds politically sensitive, like the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

During the impasse, Google's other operations in China have been largely unaffected, such as its Android mobile business. Despite the row between Google and the government, the country's IT Ministry said the Android operating system wouldn't be affected if it conforms to Chinese regulations. A variety of Chinese carriers and hardware makers, including China Unicom and Lenovo, moved forward with plans to market Android-based phones and laptops.

However, there has been uncertainty regarding Google mobile applications and services, including its search engine, in Android devices in China. Google postponed their availability after its Jan. 12 announcement.

Google is a distant second in China's search engine usage behind leader Baidu. Last year, Google fielded almost 19 percent of China residents' queries to Baidu's 76 percent, according to iResearch. Compared with 2008, Google's share dropped 1.8 percentage points, while Baidu increased its share by 2.8 points.

Still, Google fared much better than Yahoo China, which is controlled by China's Alibaba Group and had a 0.3 percent share, and Microsoft, whose Bing search engine had a 0.4 percent share of queries, according to iResearch.

Baidu finished 2009 with total revenue of 4.45 billion yuan and net income of almost 1.5 billion yuan, up about 40 percent in each case.

According to its government's official figures, China had 384 million Internet users at the end of 2009, making it the country with the largest Internet population.

In addition to requiring censoring of search results, the Chinese government also blocks access to social media sites like Google's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, monitors individuals' e-mail accounts and patrols Web sites for politically-sensitive or pornographic content. China makes no apology for the way it regulates Internet content and activities, saying its policies are geared towards preventing social ills, such as subversion and unrest.

(Owen Fletcher in Beijing contributed with this article. IDG, the parent company of IDG News Service, is an investor in Baidu.)

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags censorshipGoogleChina

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Family Friendly

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?