Beijing: Google has "violated its written promise" and is "totally wrong" for stopping the censoring of its Chinese language search engine results and blaming China for alleged hacker attacks, a government official said Tuesday morning as the internet giant moved its search engine site to Hong Kong.
The official in charge of the internet bureau under the State Council Information Office made the comments about two hours after the online search service provider announced it has stopped censoring its Chinese-language search engine Google.cn and was redirecting Chinese mainland users to a site in Hong Kong.
"Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering its searching service and blaming China in insinuation for alleged hacker attacks," Xinhua news agency quoted the official as saying.
"This is totally wrong. We're uncompromisingly opposed to the politicisation of commercial issues, and express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conducts," the official said.
Google's chief legal officer David Drummond made the "stop censoring" announcement in a blog post at about 3 am Tuesday, more than two months after the company said it had been attacked by hackers supported by the Chinese government and was considering pulling out of the Chinese market.
The official said relevant departments of the Chinese government talked with Google twice at its requests on Jan 29 and Feb 25.
"We made patient and meticulous explanations on the questions Google raised (in the talks), ...telling it we would still welcome its operation and development in China if it was willing to abide by Chinese laws, while it would be its own affair if it was determined to withdraw its service," the official said.
"Foreign companies must abide by Chinese laws and regulations when they operate in China," the official reiterated.
He noted that the Chinese government encourages the development and promotes the opening-up of Internet.
"Online opinion exchanges are very active in China and e-commerce grows rapidly here. As facts have demonstrated, the environment for Internet investment and development in China is sound.
"China will unswervingly adhere to the opening-up principle and welcomes foreign companies' participation in the development of Internet in the country," he said.
The official also vowed the government will provide good service to foreign businesses, adding Internet will maintain, as before, rapid growth in China.
DPA adds: Google moved its Chinese-language search engine site to Hong Kong and stopped censoring its Chinese search results.
"Earlier today we stopped censoring our search services - Google Search, Google News, and Google Images on Google.cn," the company said on its official Google blog.
"Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong."
The company said it would continue to conduct research and development work in China and also continue to operate its advertising sales teams in the country.
"Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard," Google's chief legal officer David Drummond said.
"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."
"We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced, it's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision."
Google added that it will create a new web page that will track which Google services are available in China, and which are being blocked by the Chinese government.
First Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2010, 10:41