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Google stops censoring search results on Google.cn; may shut down its offices in China

US-based Google, which had launched its Chinese website Google.cn in 2006 and had to censor some of its search results under the local government’s pressure, now says it’s no longer willing to continue censoring its results on Google.cn. “We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China,” David Drummond, senior vice president, corporate development and chief legal officer, Google, has said in a blog post.

US-based Google, which had launched its Chinese website Google.cn in 2006 and had to censor some of its search results under the local government’s pressure, now says it’s no longer willing to continue censoring its results on Google.cn. “We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China,” David Drummond, senior vice president, corporate development and chief legal officer, Google, has said in a blog post.

“We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results,” informs David Drummond. So, what changed now? Drummond explains, “In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.”

According to David Drummond, Google has evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists and that the accounts of dozens of US-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties.

“The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today,” David Drummond adds.

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