China Renews Google’s Operating License: Did Google Cave on Censorship?

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Chna’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology confirmed, in the wake of another announcement, that it has renewed Google‘s operating license to stay alive in China, reports Reuters.

Among the list of more than 200 companies approved for a renewed license was Guxiang, the company that operates all of Google’s Chinese activities. Interestingly, the document states that approval to Guxiang was granted after “making improvements,” which might indicate that Google had caved in some way in its anti-censorship stance. Google, through Guxiang, now “abides by Chinese law,” according to the same document.

Those rules ban any organization or individual from using the Internet to spread content that aims to “subvert state power, undermine national security … or that incites ethnic hatred and secession, transmits pornography or violence,” Xinhua said.

Google had previously danced around the issue of remaining both uncensored and legal in China, most recently by using a landing page that redirects users to its totally uncensored Hong Kong site. Whether this action was enough to keep Chinese authorities satisfied or whether Google made other changes to their policy, we don’t know. But it’s in the interest of China and Google to resolve their differences.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one–you’ll have to do the legwork yourself).DN