China has angrily criticised Google’s decision to stop censoring its internet search results in the country. The US company is redirecting users to its unrestricted Chinese-language service based in Hong Kong, although results are still vetted.
The Chinese authorities say Google’s decision to close its search service in Beijing is “totally wrong”. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang described the move as an isolated act by a commercial company, adding that it should not affect China-US relations unless “politicised” by others.
Earlier this year, Google threatened to pull out of China after websites and email accounts, in particular those of human rights activists, were attacked from inside the country.
The government operates an extensive monitoring system to control web activity. Google’s decision now effectively means that the US giant intends to stop co-operating with China’s censorship of the internet.
The authorities accuse the company of violating promises.
Other Google divisions including its research and development and sales teams are set to stay.