Google has announced that it is to redirect all Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong service, in a move to circumvent the Beijing government’s attempt to control the Internet.
Peter Barron, Google’s Communications & Public Affairs Director for North and Central Europe, told Index on Censorship: “It was clear that if we stopped censorship on Google.cn we wouldn’t be operating within Chinese law — so we redirected to our Hong Kong servers which are not subject to Chinese censorship law.”
Writing on the official Google blog, David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice-President for Corporate development and Chief Legal Officer commented:
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.