March 22, 2010 Last Updated 8:03 pm

Google announces it has stopped censoring Chinese search services; users redirected to its Hong Kong site

Google announced this afternoon that it has stopped censoring its search services in China. The move by Google will effect Google Search, Google News, and Google Images on the company’s Google.cn sites.

“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,” Google said on its official blog. (Google.com.hk header at right.)

Google explained its position this way:

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.

The blog post was authored by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer.

Update: The New York Times now has the story on its front page, though it appears they are going by the blog post, as well,

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