Google now warns Chinese users of blocked search items.

Using Hong Kong-based Google search engine has been a difficulty for Chinese users since they are getting failed connection with some search terms which has played an important role in China.

Chinese users are getting error messages like ‘This webpage is not available’ or ‘The connection was reset’ when they are using search terms such as: Yangtze River. This river is the longest in Asia, so has an important role in China. However, by searching this term it will cause for an error message. Actually, this is not an error but a part of censorship of China’s national network-level censorship system. Probably, a character of its name has been targeted by Chinese censors. This could affect many businesses such as the Yangtze University.

According to Google:

‘’We’ve observed that many of the terms triggering error messages are simple everyday Chinese characters, which can have different meanings in different contexts. For example a search for the single character [] (Jiāng, a common surname that also means “river”) causes a problem on its own, but  is also part of other common searches like [丽] (Lijiang, the name of a city in Yunnan Province), [锦之星] (the Jinjiang Star hotel chain), and [苏移动] (Jiangsu Mobile, a mobile phone service). Likewise, searching for [] (Zhōu, another common surname that also means “week”) triggers an error message, so including this character in other searches—like [杰伦] (Jay Chou, the Taiwanese pop star), [星驰] (Stephen Chow, a popular comedian from Hong Kong), or any publication that includes the word “week”—would also be problematic.’’’

It seems like that Google would like to let Chinese users know that the problems of error messages are caused by the Chinese government and not by Google itself.  The relationship between Google and China has been always not that flexible, however Google is hoping to improve the search experience for people in Mainland China.

 

 

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