Google in talks to return to China

Bill Boyle
Published on:

Google and China are talking about the internet giant’s possible return to the mainland after a seven-year spat over censorship

Liu Binjie, a standing committee member of China's Parliament, a member of the National People's Congress and former head of the General Administration of Press and Publication was reported by the South China Morning Post as saying: "China has been in touch with Google through various channels. Last year, leaders of our country's important department had further communications with Google."

All foreign search engines as well other services, including email services are blocked in China and can only be accessed through VPNs, (Virtual Private Networks).

Google Scholar was among the services on Beijing's priority list for re-entry, Liu was quoted as saying.

Liu, however, made it quite clear that there would be no ‘big bang’ return and that the Chinese authorities were interested initially in the return of information to the academic sector and have no intention of allowing news, or political information to get through its filters at this stage.

"The academic sector will be the first to get through. China's focus is on (making) academic progress, such as academic exchanges as well as (exchanges in) science and culture, instead of news, information or politics," he said.

Other Google functions under negotiation included "service functions that do not involve (politically) sensitive information," the lawmaker said.

No timetable has been set for Google's return, Lui said.

However, since China has over 720 million web users, as the world's biggest internet market, it remains a destination Google wants to add to its global reach.