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Google to leave China, users in despair


Jemima Rohekar,CNN-IBN
Jan 14, 2010 at 11:11pm IST

New Delhi: After Google decided on Wednesday to break free from self-censorship, China reaffirmed its upper hand. In a statement on its official Information website, China asked Internet companies to co-operate with state control on the Internet. The possibility of Google's exit from China has left its users in despair.

In 2006, the company launched Google.cn while agreeing to filter out pornographic and politically sensitive content.

But recently, Google said it had detected attempts by China to hack into Gmail accounts of human rights activists, which they say became the last straw.

"We decided to change our approach to China. These attacks on our system as well as the surveillance exercise that we discovered has led us to believe that we should no longer agree to censor our results in China," says Peter Barron

Communications Head, Google UK.

Along with the Internet, Chinese authorities will now also crack down on mobile phone users who send lewd text messages.

The entire episode over Google has led to a war of words between the US and China.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought an explanation from Beijing while a Chinese Foreign Ministry official replied that the country's Internet was open to foreign companies.

Google's search engine occupies second place in China's huge market of 360 million Internet users.

In the absence of a solution, Google may well have to close its doors on the most sought-after market of Internet users.

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