Has Google Backed Down to China?

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The Chinese government is claiming that Google backed down on censorship issues and that they have reinstated Google’s license to operate in China.  If the Reuters report is correct, Google has made a major change to its January assertion that it would no longer abide by the draconian censorship laws in China after accusations that China had hacked into Google services in order to spy on “dissidents.”

This comes after Google agreed (and implemented the change) last month to stop automatically redirecting Chinese searchers to the uncensored Google Hong Kong site – users are now presented with a search box that clicks through to their Hong Kong site.

So far, Google has not explained the situation publicly or given their side of the story.  With license approval may come new changes to the Google China site (again).  It’s hard to see how Google will be able to explain this without seriously losing face, but part of the deal may have been pushed by the U.S. government which has shaky relations with Beijing at the moment and has been working to bolster them.

The reinstatement of Google’s license raises a lot of questions that so far, neither the Chinese government nor Google have answered.  It will be an interesting couple of days as this plays out.


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