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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
Google back online in China
Google
Access to Google was blocked 10 days ago
China has reversed its decision to block the popular Google search engine.

A ban on the web portal has been lifted, 10 days after it was imposed.

"We have been notified by users that they are now able to access Google in China," Google Spokesman Cindy McCaffrey told BBC News Online.

"We have not changed anything with regard to how we operate our service, and we continue to work with authorities in China."

Chinese internet users
China tries to block access to sensitive sites
No explanation was offered for the sudden about-face.

Media freedom groups had criticised China for the move.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) both called on Beijing to lift the ban.

The move was also widely debated by Chinese internet users, many of whom explained that they used Google for research rather than political reasons.

"Potentially we have seen a backing down by China in terms of the block," said telecoms analyst Duncan Clark of BDA Connect.

Internet detour

Ten days ago, internet users trying to access Google were re-routed to less effective, more heavily censored Chinese-language search engines.

On 6 September, users of the American search engine AltaVista.com found themselves similarly detoured.

Google has become popular in China because of the simplicity of its pages and the ability to run searches in the Chinese language.


Not everyone should have access to this harmful information on the internet

Kong Quan, Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Chinese surfers criticised the ban saying they used the search engine for research, not politics.

China is keen to promote the use of the internet for business. But it also tries to maintain strict controls over what its citizens read on the net.

"Obviously there is some harmful information on the internet," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said earlier.

"Not everyone should have access to this harmful information on the internet. The whole world now is exploring a way to manage the Internet and China is also working on this."

Google is one of the most popular sites on the internet, receiving more than 150 million hits a day.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Kaiser Quo, Beijing-based IT specialist
"The Chinese governement see it as a potential threat"
Analyst Duncan Clark
Sophisticated monitoring of the net by China
See also:

12 Sep 02 | Technology
03 Sep 02 | Technology
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10 May 02 | Business
31 Jul 02 | Technology
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23 Jul 02 | Business
28 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
05 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
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