Western Search Engines Redirected in China

Without reason, Western search engines in China are now being redirected to Chinese search site Baidu.

Various reports indicate that YouTube, Yahoo, Google, and Windows Live Search are all being redirected to Baidu, in a possible move to block out news of the Dalai Lama's receipt of the Congressional Gold Medal.

Such a move would not be surprising, considering China has already done something similar in the past. In 2002, it redirected Google surfers away from the site ahead of the Communist Party Congress meetings.

That event is happening again in a few weeks (it happens once every five years), so it could also be a possible reason for the block, say Chinese censorship watchers. In an Associated Press story last week, it was said that the country's moves ahead of this years Congressional meetings are 'unprecedented.' Entire data centers are being shut down, and interactive websites are being forced to close until after the meetings end.

Baidu is not completely in the clear in this either: the company has been accused of meddling in government affairs to attempt to get the sites blocked for its own benefit.

China stands to benefit from its homegrown sites doing better: Baidu is a NASDAQ listed company. When questioned about such a premise as part of a 2006 Washington Post story on Google's rise in China, Baidu denied it had anything to do with the 2002 blocks.

Chinese authorities have so far had no public comment on the blocks.


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