Just as we thought things were getting better between China and Google, we learn they aren’t. Yesterday, Google surprisingly announced they were not going to leave China, but would redirect Google.cn, China’s main Google network, to Google.com.hk, Hong Kong’s Google.
According to the New York Times this morning, the Chinese government has started blocking some search results and a number of features within Google Search. “Beijing officials were clearly angered by Google’s decision, which focused global attention on the government’s censorship policies, and there were signs of possible escalation in the dispute,” said the article.
Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting, a Beijing-based technology research firm, told the New York Times that as high as the tension is between Google & China is, he doesn’t think it would be the best idea for China to block the search engine entirely.
“To block Google entirely is not necessarily a desirable outcome for the government,” he said. Many of Google’s loyal Chinese users tend to be very well educated and vocal when it comes to issues with the government, and that’s something the government is trying to avoid.
China Mobile, the countries largest cellular communications company was getting ready to start a contract deal with Google to make the search engine the automatic homepage when users log online from their phones. But the government is now pressuring the phone company to cancel the deal.
If Google wishes to continue operations in China, they must register for a renewal licence by the end of the month. Last week, a Google spokesperson had told CNN that there was no word if the company was planning on renewing it’s license.