Calif. – Google (NASD: GOOG) announced on
Monday that it will stop censoring the search results it delivers to Chinese
users of its search engine, but will not exit the country entirely, a decision
it had been pondering since a hacker attack on its Gmail service was found to
have originated from China. "We made clear that these attacks and the
surveillance they uncovered — combined with attempts over the last year to
further limit free speech on the web in China including the persistent blocking
of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger — had
led us to conclude that we could no longer continue censoring our results on
Google.cn," the company said in a statement.
Users of the site are now
being redirected to Google’s Hong Kong-based search engine, which offers
uncensored search results in simplified Chinese.
"We want as many people
in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in
mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout
our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement," the company said.
very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are
well aware that it could at any time block access to our services."
that end, the company created a new website that will track which Google
services are available in China
on a daily basis.
Google added that it intends to continue its research and
development activities in China,
as well as maintain a sales presence in the country.
The company also stressed
that the decision to stop censoring search results was made by its U.S. executive
team, and none of its Chinese employees should be held responsible.