"Intermittent censorship" of Hong Kong search engine: Google

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The Independent Online

Google said Wednesday that its Hong Kong search engine, which has been handling Web queries from mainland Chinese users since Monday, is coming under "intermittent censorship."

Alan Davidson, Google's director of public policy, also said in written remarks submitted to a US congressional commission here that new rules are needed to govern trade in the online world.

Google on Monday stopped censoring its search engine in China, Google.cn, and began redirecting mainland Chinese users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong, Google.com.hk.

Web users in China, however, have said some searches using politically sensitive keywords were still being censored and Davidson's remarks to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China appeared to confirm the reports.

"We are well aware that the Chinese government can, at any time, block access to our services - indeed we have already seen intermittent censorship of certain search queries on both Google.com.hk and Google.com," Davidson said.

On trade, the Google official said "governments need to develop a full set of new trade rules to address new trade barriers."

"We should continue to look for effective ways to address unfair foreign trade barriers in the online world: to use trade agreements, trade tools, and trade diplomacy to promote the free flow of information on the Internet," he said.