A day after Google (NSDQ: GOOG) began redirecting visitors to its search engine in China to its Hong Kong site, Google says that people in mainland China can still access the Google.com.hk site, although “it seems that certain sensitive queries are being blocked.” That makes the situation for Google users in China seemingly much the same as it was before. But in an interview with James Fallows, Chief Legal Officer David Drummond emphasizes that there’s one crucial difference: “We are censoring nothing,” he says. “The Firewall can block access to certain kind of search results regardless of how you get to them. They are treating Google.com.hk – treating it like Google.com [that is, as a foreign source that is screened by the Firewall].”
How long even that situation will last is unclear — and Google said yesterday that Chinese authorities could potentially block access to the Hong Kong site at any time. While they haven’t taken that step, the NYT says that the Chinese government is putting pressure on China Mobile to end its three-year-old deal with Google which makes Google the default search engine on its mobile home page.