Ross LaJeunesse, Google’s Asia government affairs chief told an audience in Hong Kong that Google remains “committed to China and to our Chinese users” but added that its future in Mainland China is “uncertain.” At the same time, Google has reportedly been hiring people to protect its shrinking share in the world’s largest internet market.
Google had hoped to circumvent Chinese government control by redirecting Google.cn users to the uncensored Google.com.hk. But the Chinese have blocked that site on occasion as well. While some have speculated that Google will return to China proper, that’s not clear. The mixed signals from Google reflect an apparently heated debate on China internally within Google.
Recall that in January Google decided it would no longer comply with government censorship, in part because of alleged government-backed efforts to hack into Gmail. Since that time Google and China watchers have observed and speculated about how the Google-China drama would unfold. That’s still not clear, but it would be very difficult for Google to go back into China without losing face unless there were some concession by the Chinese government.
So far there has been no indication that the Chinese government will compromise or relax its censorship policies.
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