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China Counters Google Move by Restricting Hong Kong Site
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 14:35:42 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: dewayne () warpspeed com (Dewayne Hendricks)
Date: March 23, 2010 12:08:13 PM EDT
To: Dewayne-Net Technology List <xyzzy () warpspeed com>
Subject: [Dewayne-Net] China Counters Google Move by Restricting Hong Kong Site

March 23, 2010
China Counters Google Move by Restricting Hong Kong Site
By MICHAEL WINES and JONATHAN ANSFIELD
<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/technology/24google.html>

BEIJING — As Google began redirecting tens of millions of Chinese users on Tuesday to its uncensored Web site in Hong 
Kong, the company’s remaining mainland operations came under pressure from its Chinese partners and from the government 
itself.

But mainland Chinese users on Tuesday could not see uncensored Hong Kong content because government computers had 
either disabled searches for objectionable content completely or blocked links to certain results.

Beijing officials were clearly angered Tuesday by Google’s decision to close its Internet search service in China and 
redirect users to the Hong Kong site, a move that focused global attention on the government’s censorship policies, and 
there were signs of possible escalation in the dispute.

China’s biggest cellular communications company, China Mobile, was expected to cancel a deal that had placed Google’s 
search engine on its mobile Internet home page, used by millions of people daily. In interviews, business executives 
close to industry officials said the company was planning to scrap the deal under government pressure, despite the fact 
that China Mobile has yet to contract with a replacement.

Similarly, China’s second-largest mobile company, China Unicom, was said by analysts and others to have delayed or 
killed the imminent introduction of a cellphone based on Google’s Android platform. One major Internet portal, Tom.com, 
already had ceased using Google to power its search engine.

Technology analysts and the business executives, who demanded anonymity for fear of retaliation, said that Google might 
also face problems in keeping its advertising sales force, which is crucial to the success of its Chinese language 
service.

Several held out the prospect that the government could shut down the company’s Chinese search service entirely by 
blocking access to Google’s mainland address, google.cn, or to its Hong Kong Web site. As of Tuesday, users who go to 
google.cn are automatically being sent to the Hong Kong address, google.com.hk.

“It’s going to boil down to whether authorities feel it is acceptable for users to be redirected to that site without 
having to figure it out themselves,” said Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting, a Beijing-based 
technology research firm.

At the same time, Mr. Natkin said that the government might still be wary of agitating loyal Google users in China, who 
tend to be highly educated and vocal. “To block Google entirely is not necessarily a desirable outcome for the 
government,” he said.

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