Tuesday 10th September 2002áá

Still no Google in the People's Republic...

Google's Chinese exile continues, with the communist government now redirecting Google URLs to domestic-based search engines.

Previously, access to the US search giant's site was blocked. Now the redirected surfers are being encouraged to use government approved search engines.

The Chinese government blocked Google over fears that surfers were using the site to find out about the outlawed spiritual movement Falun Gong, as well as more universal concerns such as pornography (see www.silicon.com/a55369 for more).

Rival US search engine AltaVista has now also been blocked as the Chinese government tightens its control over the internet ahead of the Communist Party Congress in November which it is feared will be a catalyst for political unrest in the country.

Over the weekend surfers hoping to access Google found they were being redirected to a number of other search engines, depending on where in the country they were. This suggests local telcos have been implementing the changes with their servers redirecting traffic to designated sites other than those requested.

However, the sites to which surfers are being redirected appear to have been unaware of the government's actions - in many cases arguing openly in favour of Google.

In a show of defiance, Chinese search engine Tianwang has posted a statement on its site criticising the government's action and saying: "This is not what the Tianwang search would hope to see."