Google will redirect mainland Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong-based search engine, after talks with the Chinese government failed.
The company said tonight that visitors to Google.cn will be bounced to Google.com.hk, which provides search results unsullied by Chinese government interference. Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule over a decade ago, but is largely unaffected by its censorship laws.
The move comes over two months after Google said it had discovered widespread hacking of its services by those opposed to human rights progress in the nation, and threatened to either stop censoring its results or pull out of the country.
“Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard,” Google chief lawyer David Drummond said on the official Google blog.
“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,” he wrote.
There now comes the very real, some would say inevitable, prospect of the Chinese government blocking access to the Hong Kong servers from the mainland.
Google has established a web site designed to let users know which of its services are currently available in China. Currently, both web search and news are up.