While the censored Chinese version of the Google search engine, Google.cn, is easily accessible, its international version, Google.com, is no longer available to people living in most Chinese provinces, Reporters Without Borders said in a statement released Tuesday.
“It was only to be expected that Google.com would be gradually sidelined after the censored version was launched in January,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Google has just definitively joined the club of western companies that comply with online censorship in China.”
Officials with the Mountain View, Calif., company were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday. But co-founder Sergey Brin on Tuesday told reporters in Washington, D.C., that the company has had to compromise on its principles in order to operate in China, according to a report from the Associated Press.
"We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference," Brin said, according to the AP.
While getting cooperation from western Internet companies like Google, China's communist government has also been jamming at unprecedented levels software designed to bypass censors, Reporters Without Borders said. Such programs are used by about 100,000 Chinese to gain access to news and information blocked by China's firewall. The applications include Dynapass, Ultrasurf, Freegate and Garden Networks.
Software engineers based abroad have had very limited success in updating the programs on the basis of information they have received from Internet users inside China, the advocacy group said.