Google service touch-and-go in China

By David Goldman, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A day after Google said it would no longer censor search results in China, the Chinese government has partially blocked access to the site, and users of Google in mainland China are experiencing difficulty making searches.

Google's search service has been unavailable from time to time on Tuesday, according to CNN's Beijing bureau. At times, searches for any kind of content -- restricted by the Chinese government or not -- have often been returning messages that say "the Web site cannot be uploaded."

At other times, search service has been operational for most terms. However, results of "controversial" searches such as "Tiananmen Square massacre," "Falun Gong" or "Dalai Lama" are being completely blocked by the Chinese government.

A Google spokesman confirmed that certain sensitive queries are seemingly being blocked. However, he noted that access to google.com.hk is not currently completely blocked.

On Monday, Google began redirecting its Chinese users to its Hong Kong site, google.com.hk, which offers uncensored search results. Google's search site for Chinese users is now hosted on servers that are in Hong Kong. Since Google is no longer hosting its search operations within mainland China, Google no longer needs to adhere to China's censorship laws. It is now up to the Chinese government to block access to the results it finds objectionable.

In a company blog, Google said Monday that it is "well aware" that the Chinese authorities could block access to its services for users within the country's borders.

Shortly after Google began redirecting Chinese users to the Hong Kong site, people in mainland China were able to search for any term they like, including "controversial" subjects such as Tiananmen Square massacre," "Falun Gong" or "Dalai Lama," and all the results were being displayed. But when users tried to click on one of those results, they are sent to pages that say "connection to server has been reconnected" or "that page is not available."

Shares of Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) fell 2% in midday trading. Shares of Chinese rival Baidu (BIDU), which have soared 54% since Google first announced it would stop censoring results in China on Jan. 12, rose 3% on Tuesday. To top of page

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