Chronology of Google's operations in China

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The Independent Online

The following is a chronology of major developments involving China and Google, which announced Monday that it has stopped censoring results on its Chinese-language search engine:

July 19, 2005

Google announces plans to open a research and development center in China, hiring former Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee to head the operation.

January 25, 2006

Google launches a Chinese-language search engine, Google.cn, after agreeing to censor websites for content banned under Chinese law. Chief executive Eric Schmidt, at a ceremony in Beijing in April, says Google "must comply with the local law." He adds: "It is not an option for us to broadly make information available that is illegal, inappropriate or immoral."

January 4, 2007

Google announces it has forged an alliance with China Mobile, the nation's largest handset operator, to provide mobile and Internet services in China.

October 27, 2008

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! band together with a coalition of human rights and other groups in the "Global Network Initiative," unveiling a code of conduct aimed at safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy.

June 18, 2009

China attacks Google over pornography for the second time in six months, accusing it of not installing filters to block "vulgar" content. Google says it is "stepping up its efforts." Google services begin to suffer intermittent outages around June 25. Outgoing Google China president Kai-Fu Lee announces in September that Google services have been fully restored.

January 12, 2010

Google threatens to shut its operations in China after uncovering what it says are "highly sophisticated" cyberattacks originating from China aimed at the email accounts of Chinese human rights activists. "These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered - combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the Web - have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China," Google chief legal officer David Drummond says. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asks China for an explanation.

January 14, 2010

China says foreign Internet firms are welcome but must operate "according to law." Internet users leave messages, flowers and fruit outside Google's Beijing headquarters.

January 21, 2010

In a major speech in Washington on Internet freedom, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges China to investigate the cyberattacks on Google and calls on US technology firms not to support Internet censorship. China says such remarks harm relations.

February 21, 2010

Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School, named by The New York Times in connection with the cyberattacks on Google, deny involvement.

March 22, 2010

Google announces it has stopped censoring its Chinese-language search engine Google.cn and is redirecting mainland Chinese users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong, Google.com.hk. Google also says it intends to continue research and development work in China and maintain a sales presence there.

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