Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google.cn now rerouting to Hong Kong domain, an 'entirely legal' workaround to censorship woes

Danny Cheng: "Banned Google and YouTube in China? wtf? lucky we live in Hong Kong :)"

Engadget: "It's not quite the ceasing of operations that the local papers were reporting last week, but Google has announced today what it's calling an "entirely legal" way of giving mainland China unfiltered search results. The Google.cn domain now redirects to its Hong Kong servers via Google.com.hk, providing uncensored access in simplified Chinese. Needless to say, any mainland Google China servers have thus been given an early retirement. "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," writes David Drummond, SVP of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, on the official Google Blog, while also noting to expect some slowdown while the HK servers deal with an expanded load of users. As for its men and women on the ground, Google reiterates that these decisions were driven by executives in the U.S. "and that none of [its] employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them." R&D work will continue on the mainland, and a sales presence will remain. The company has created a "China service availability" page, promised to be updated daily, for seeing what parts of Google's business are being blocked by the country at any given time -- as of today, that includes Youtube, Google Sites, Blogger, and partial blocks of Docs, Picasa, and Groups. We're very curious to see how the page'll look in tomorrow's update.

Update: China has given its own response, in English. The wording is rather harsh, remarking that " it is unfair for Google to impose its own value and yardsticks on Internet regulation to China, which has its own time-honored tradition, culture and value." The statement goes on to say that the Google's "ambition to change China's Internet rules and legal system will only prove to be ridiculous" and should it continue to "politicalize itself," it'll only lose credibility among the country's web users and ultimately "will make Google end up to be the biggest loser." Full statement via CCTV. "

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