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Google is staying in China, for now

Google's presence in China has been a almost never ending controversy over censorship, social responsibility, and human rights. It was always a struggle to try and keep up with China's complicated and sometimes intrusive legislation concerning Internet filtering and censorship. China always seemed to be at odds with Google’s services and philosophy regarding free speech and open platforms. When Google announced in January of 2010 that they would no longer be censoring search results coming from the google.cn home page, the Chinese were none too thrilled with the prospect. Eventually, China decided, contrary to widespread popular demand, that they would not renew Google’s ICP (Internet Content Provider) license unless they complied with the national censorship laws.

In June, Google compromised by routing all traffic coming to google.cn through google.com.hk, their Hong Kong home page, which isn’t tied to the same restrictions and provides unfiltered search. They were hoping that China would accept the solution and renew their license, but that wasn’t in the cards. China was of the opinion that simply redirecting wasn’t good enough, and Google was back to square one.

At the end of June, Google made one last effort to try and appease the Chinese government. A small portion of Chinese users were given a landing page instead of the vanilla google.cn homepage, a page that gave a link to the search engine in Hong Kong, while giving all the unfiltered services the Chinese government will allow on the original google.cn homepage.

As of today, according to the Official Google Blog, China has decided that this is a viable solution, and has renewed Google’s ICP license. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved, and for now, at least, Google isn’t going dark in China.

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