Internet giant Google has recently stated that the Chinese government has renewed its license to allow it to continue operating its web site Google .cn in main land China.
Google’s license renewed
Google.cn which had set an automatic redirection of its users to the uncensored Hong Kong site has now regained its operations. This will help to bring to an end months of tension in the country after the company stopped editing search results. Google went as far as withdrawing some operations from the country. The restoration of Google.cn may be of importance as it may help it secure a renewal of its (ICP) Internet content provider license in the country. As of now, the site allows users to carry out music and product searches and to use its translation services. The license renewal announcement was made in a blog posting by the company’s chief legal officer Mr. David Drummond in California. “We are very pleased that the government renewed our license and we are looking forward to continue with the provision of web search and local products to all our users in China.” Mr. Drummond wrote referring to an ICP license.
Concessions from Google
According to sources, the company had strikes a balance with the Chinese government to meet its requirements and at the same time, it tried to stick to its company policy of not censoring results on the site. As a result, it made a decision to provide limited services to its consumers on the site, claiming that those are the “only ones it can currently offer” without having sensor such results, according to the same source. Thus, visitors to the site are taken to the home page, goole.cn and are where they type their general queries in the search text box and re-directed to the Hong Kong site as soon as they hit the “search” button where the query results are displayed and the query is resolved.
Early this year, Google revealed the shocking news that it had received hack attacks from China based sources in December last year leading to the compromise of some of its systems and targeted e-mail accounts of some human rights defenders in China. In response, Google carried out the implementation of the automatic redirect to the Hong Kong site saying that this would help in keeping the promise of its non- censorship promise and adhering to Chinese regulations at the same time. However, when time came for the government to review Google’s application for ICP renewal, it pointed out that the automatic redirection was a potential problem for approving its license.
The company complied, though there were still much more limited sets of services. It was granted license renewal. This is a sign that even though Google is quite uncomfortable wit its operations in china, it is still willing to make it its market as analysts say that there are more internet users in China than in The United States.
Stringency from Beijing
As recent as two weeks ago, the company announced that it had seized the automatic sending of uses from mainland China to its Hong Kong web page. It stated that it had launched a web page that gave users a choice rather than the direct uncensored Hong Kong site. Though insignificant, the move seemed to comply with Beijing’s stringent regulations. “This approach ensures that we stay true to our commitment not to censor our results on Google.cn and it gives users all our services from one page.” Said Mr. Drummond.