The Financial Times has the latest in the ongoing saga of Google in China:
Google has drawn up detailed plans for the closure of its Chinese search engine and is now “99.9 per cent” certain to go ahead as talks over censorship with the Chinese authorities have reached an apparent impasse, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking.
In a hardening of positions on both sides, the Chinese government also yesterday threw down a direct public challenge to the US search company, with a warning that it was not prepared to compromise on internet censorship to stop Google leaving.
The signs that Google was on the brink of closing Google.cn, its local search service in China, came two months after it promised to stop bowing to censorship there. But while a decision could be made very soon, the company is likely to take some time to follow through with the plan as it seeks an orderly closure and takes steps to protect local employees from retaliation by the authorities, the person familiar with its position said.
The status of talks between Google and the Chinese government has been unclear following confusing and contradictory statements from both sides. Then, earlier this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he thought the stand-off with the Chinese government over Internet censorship and cyber attacks would be resolved “soon” but that the company was still committed to ending censorship of its Chinese search engine. His remarks launched speculation that Google was preparing to leave the China market, which a Google spokesperson has since denied. Now, Li Yizhong, China’s minister of industry and information technology, has warned Google against opening Google.cn, the New York Times reports:
Speaking on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress, China’s quasilegislative session, Mr. Li said that he hoped
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