China angry at Google move to Hong Kong

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China has criticised Google's decision to stop censoring its China-based search engine, calling the move "totally wrong" and accusing the company of violating promises.

More than two months after it threatened to shut down Google.cn if it had to continue policing the site, the company made the shift early on Tuesday.

Visitors to Google.cn are automatically redirected to the Chinese-language service based in Hong Kong, where Google is not required to censor searches.

The State Council Information Office, which oversees the internet said: "Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering its searching service and blaming China in insinuation for alleged hacker attacks."

"This is totally wrong. We're uncompromisingly opposed to the politicisation of commercial issues, and express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conducts."

Goggle's Hong Kong page heralded the shift, with the words "Welcome to Google Search in China's new home."

The move, in effect, shifts the responsibility for censoring from Google to the communist government, which operates an extensive monitoring and filtering system to block content, deemed unacceptable. Users in China were unable to retrieve searches on sensitive topics.

The Chinese government could retaliate by blocking access to Google's services, much as it has completely shut off YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. China has an estimated 350 million Internet users.

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