Google's China license problem remains unresolved

Chinese authorities have yet to inform Google whether its license to operate in the country will be renewed

After five days of waiting, Google is still in the dark about whether the company's operating license in China will be renewed.

As of Monday morning, Beijing time, the search engine giant had yet to hear back from the Chinese government regarding the license, said Jessica Powell, a Google spokeswoman.

The license, which is issued by the Chinese authorities, is necessary for Google to continue operating its China-based Web site, Google.cn. But tensions between the company and Chinese officials have put the license's renewal in doubt.

In March, Google decided to stop censoring the results to its Google.cn search engine by shutting the site down. All internet traffic from the site was then redirected to Google's uncensored Hong Kong search engine. The move quickly angered Chinese officials, who demanded that the company comply with Chinese laws that require companies to censor search results.

Now, with Google's operating license up for renewal the company has decided to take a step back from its previous actions in a bid to comply with government demands. Last week, Google.cn was restored as a "landing page," where users are given a link to the company's Hong Kong page rather than automatically redirected to it.

Since Google's license went up for renewal last Wednesday, the company's web search services have also been partially blocked in China. Google Suggest, a feature that provides probable search terms when user types their query, continues to be blocked, Powell said.

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Michael Kan

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