TECH

Google ENDS China Search Censorship, Redirects Users To Hong Kong

Google has officially stopped censoring search results in China.

Google has shut down its Chinese search site at Google.cn, and is redirecting users to its Hong Kong site, Google.com.hk.

Google.com.hk includes a note in Chinese that reads '欢迎您来到谷歌搜索在中国的新家' (or, loosely translated, 'Welcome to Google China's new home').

Google wrote in an official blog post that the company has 'stopped censoring our search services--Google Search, Google News, and Google Images--on Google.cn.'

Google explains,

Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk. Due to the increased load on our Hong Kong servers and the complicated nature of these changes, users may see some slowdown in service or find some products temporarily inaccessible as we switch everything over.

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.

Read the full blog post here.

The Associated Press notes that Google will not leave China entirely:

Google plans to keep its engineering and sales offices in China so it can keep a technological toehold in the country and continue to sell ads for the Chinese-language version of its search engine in the U.S.

See Google's App Status Dashboard to check out what the Chinese government is censoring. See a timeline of Google's controversies in China here.