In response to Google's decision to start offering uncensored search results to its Chinese audience yesterday, the local government has reportedly begun limiting users' access to the engine, and a Chinese official has denounced the move as "totally wrong."
Yesterday, Google redirected traffic from its main Chinese engine, Google.cn, to its Hong Kong-based service - which offers users access to results. Since launching in Mainland China in 2006, Google has been required by local law to filter search results, specifically in results based on keywords related to alleged human rights abuses and oppression.
Yesterday however, the search giant followed through on its threat to offer uncensored results following what it described as "a highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on its systems originating from within China in January.
A public-facing service set up by Google to monitor the availability of its own products from within Mainland China currently states access to the Hong Kong service is still available, but a report in the Wall Street Journal suggests the "extensive filtering mechanisms" the government uses against overseas Web content is blocking users within China from seeing results for some 'politically sensitive search terms on the Hong Kong site.'"
According to reports from state-run news agency Xinhua, a Chinese government official has also spoken out against Google's actions, stating, "Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering its searching service and blaming China in insinuation for alleged hacker attacks."
The unnamed official, reportedly in charge of the Internet bureau under the State Council Information Office, added, "This is totally wrong. We're uncompromisingly opposed to the politicization of commercial issues, and express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conducts."
Finally, the official said relevant government departments had spoken with Google numerous times, and said they made "patient and meticulous explanations on the questions Google raised... telling it (the government) would still welcome its operation and development in China if it was willing to abide by Chinese laws, while it would be its own affair if it was determined to withdraw its service."
Since Google announced in January it may withdraw from the Chinese market, the stock price of its main rival and major Chinese search engine Baidu has risen considerably, closing today at $579.72 per share, up from a closing price of $386.49 on January 12th, according to Yahoo Finance.
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March 19, 2014