Google back online in China

BBC, Sep. 12, 2002

China has reversed its decision to block the popular Google search engine.

A ban on the web portal has been lifted, 10 days after it was imposed.

“We have been notified by users that they are now able to access Google in China,” Google Spokesman Cindy McCaffrey told BBC News Online.

“We have not changed anything with regard to how we operate our service, and we continue to work with authorities in China.”

No explanation was offered for the sudden about-face.

Media freedom groups had criticised China for the move.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) both called on Beijing to lift the ban.

Internet detour
Ten days ago, internet users trying to access Google were re-routed to less effective, more heavily censored Chinese-language search engines.

On 6 September, users of the American search engine found themselves similarly detoured.

Google has become popular in China because of the simplicity of its pages and the ability to run searches in the Chinese language.

Chinese surfers criticised the ban saying they used the search engine for research, not politics.

China is keen to promote the use of the internet for business. But it also tries to maintain strict controls over what its citizens read on the net.

“Obviously there is some harmful information on the internet,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said earlier.

“Not everyone should have access to this harmful information on the internet. The whole world now is exploring a way to manage the Internet and China is also working on this.”

The search engine is one of the most popular sites on the internet, receiving more than 150 million hits a day.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday September 13, 2002.
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