Google slightly altered its business strategy in China late Monday in an attempt to balance the company’s desire to keep its Chinese website with its goal of avoiding self-censorship.
Google for the past three months has been automatically redirecting visitors to its Chinese site, google.cn, to its Hong Kong search engine, google.com.hk. Though Google does not sensor results on the Hong Kong site for users in mainland China, the Chinese government does.
Still, Chinese government officials told the search giant that it finds the auto-redirect “unacceptable” and would likely revoke Google’s license to operate in country if it continues that practice, according to a company blog post.
As a result, Google said that over the next several days, it will stop automatically directing its mainland Chinese users to its Hong Kong search engine. Instead, it has begun to display a “landing page” on google.cn for some users, which requires users to click on an image that links to the Hong Kong site.
Update: See the explanation of the latest move on the Google from Chief Legal Officer David Drummond and a post by Rebecca MacKinnon in which she outlines four possible scenarios of what will happen next.
The following are selected tweets in Chinese about Google’s latest move (translated by CDT):
[email protected]: 当我老了，两鬓斑驳，孩子们睁大了无邪的眼睛围坐在炉火旁，听着旧时的事儿。我清了清嗓子：“那时候，谷歌来过，走了；现在，他可以永远的留了下来！…” #GoogleCN
– When I am old, wide-eyed children will gather around the fire to listen to the old tales. I’ll clear my throat: “At that time, Google came and went; now, he can stay forever!”
– Google’s new measures highlight the comedy of the Chinese government
– 谷歌在中国的命运：有个男人和一个女人结婚了，可是女人整天叨唠，一会要这个，一会要那个，觉得不过瘾，就偷偷的监视，结果男人急了，一甩手：去死！我不玩了！ #GoogleCN #GFW #FuckGFW
– The fate of Google in China: A man and a woman got married, but the woman talked non-stop, one minute wanting this, the next minute wanting that, not happy. So she secretly began to spy on the man. As a result the man got furious and refused, saying: Go to hell! I’m not playing anymore!
– @hecaitou 再见，谷歌！你好，Google！
– Good-bye, Google.cn! Hello, Google!
– 纪念，我们的Google.cn g.cn……
– In commemoration, our Google.cn….