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Google to shutter Chinese branch of its search engine?

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 6:34PM EST

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After weeks of negotiations and public statements, the tension between Google and China has reached a crescendo and sources familiar with the situation are relaying the rumor that Google may be closing the Chinese branch of its search engine in the next few weeks. The possibility of Google operating without censorship in China was stifled last Friday when Li Yizhong, Minister of Industry and IT, confirmed China’s position that Google’s plan to operate without filtering was “unfriendly”, “irresponsible” and warned that Google would “bear the consequences of its decision” to open up the Internet to the Chinese people. With China apparently unwilling to budge, Google is now at a crossroads and must decide whether its 36% market share is worth sacrificing in the name of Internet freedom.