As Google seeks to renew its internet license in China, the search giant plans to stop automatically directing users to its uncensored Hong Kong site.
Google has been redirecting users to avoid self-censoring search results on its site for mainland China, Google.cn. The Chinese government strongly objects to the redirect.
If the Chinese government rejects Google's license application, the company will lose access to the world's largest web market. But, in an effort to placate Chinese officials, Google has offered a compromise: users will no longer be automatically redirected to the Hong Kong site. However, a single link to the Hong Kong site—where users can view unfiltered, uncensored content—will be made available on mainland China's site.
Up until January, Google censored search results on behalf of the Chinese government. But, after receiving criticism from Western civil rights advocates, the company announced it would no longer censor content.
Google's renewal application is due Wednesday; representatives expect a decision from Chinese officials within a few days.