Google has acted on its threat of shutting down Google.cn by redirecting all traffic from that domain to its Hong Kong localised version, which effectively means that all Chinese results will be uncensored – unlike the mainland version because of strict laws regarding censorship.
Previously, searches for Falun Gong and the Taiwanese independence were controversial topics that were often censored by localised versions. Like Google, Bing China and Yahoo China opt in a similar practise.
China has quickly responded, via the Xinhua state-run News Agency, by saying the decision is “wrong”.
“We’re uncompromisingly opposed to the politicization of commercial issues, and express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conduct,” an unnamed official who is said to be part of the State Council Information Office told Xinhua.
“Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market.”
How it manages to do this is due in part of an agreement with the British regarding the handing over of Hong Kong and China’s “One Country, Two Systems” policy, where Hong Kong remains democratic despite the mainland being a communist country. Censorship in the mainland do not affect Hong Kong, and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are still accessible to people living in Hong Kong.
According to the Los Angeles Times, while Chinese users are likely to see the pages, clicking on the links are a different matter entirely.
It is likely that Google.cn, because of its redirect to the Hong Kong service, will be banned from China.