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Google 'partially blocked' in China

world Updated: Jun 30, 2010 22:05 IST

AFP
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Google's Web search engine in China was "partially blocked" on Wednesday, the deadline for Beijing to renew the Internet giant's Chinese business license.

A Web page maintained by Google on the accessibility to its services in mainland China, google.com/prc/report.html, listed its Web search service as "partially blocked" as of Wednesday.

The service had previously been listed as "fully or mostly accessible."

Other Google services such as Gmail, News and Images were "fully or mostly accessible."

Google said Tuesday it would stop automatically redirecting Chinese users to an unfiltered search site in Hong Kong, a process it began in March in response to state censorship and cyber attacks it claims came from China.

Google said all mainland users would now be directed to a new landing page on google.cn, which links to the uncensored Hong Kong site.

Google's change in tack in the world's biggest online market was aimed at addressing Chinese government complaints about the censorship issue and came just before its Internet Content Provider license was up for renewal Wednesday.

"It's clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable -- and that if we continue redirecting users, our Internet Content Provider licence will not be renewed," Google's chief legal officer David Drummond said on the company's official blog.

"Without an ICP license, we can't operate a commercial website like google.cn -- so Google would effectively go dark in China," he said.

Marsha Wang, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Google, said the company was still waiting for a response from the central government on the license issue.

"We will keep communicating with (the government) to see what information it will give us," she told AFP.

China is the world's biggest Internet market, with an online population of more than 400 million, according to official data.