The Chinese government has renewed Google’s licence to operate in China.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has agreed to allow the search giant to continue business in China; only however, if Google promises to “rectify” certain aspects of its operation and to “abide by Chinese law”. The renewal of the licence of Beijing Guxiang Information Technology Co. Ltd, the operator of Google’s China website, was announced along with hundreds of others on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s website.
“After our assessment, we decided that Guxiang had basically met the requirements. Guxiang’s licence renewal application is approved,” an official from the Chinese Ministry of information told Xinhua News, a state-run news agency.
In March Google China started redirecting Chinese search traffic to its Hong Kong website to avoid Chinese censorship of search results. The move was in retaliation for attacks against Google and several human rights activists, now known as ‘Project Aurora’, which are suspected to have originated from China.
Reuters reported in March that Vice Minister Miao Wei was quoted (in state-controlled media) saying that “if Google has had evidence that the attacks came from China, the Chinese government will welcome them to provide the information and will severely punish the offenders according to the law”.
“If Google decides to continue its business in China and abides by China’s laws, it’s welcome to stay,” Miao said. The situation led to a standoff between Google, and it is still unclear just what “rectification” the Chinese government will require.