Google Is Fighting With GFW

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As you may know that Google China ( has been redirected to Google Hong Kong (, which is less of internet censorship.

Although users in China can visit the Hong Kong website, they may fail to search for some keywords, such as "长江" (Yangtze River), as what you can see from the following video:

You will get an error page when searching for "长江", and which will cause you fail to get access to the Google Hong Kong website for about 1:30 minutes.

I. The sensitive keywords

How the error happens? It is not Google's problem, but the GFW's, which also causes you fail to get access to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and many other websites with the same or similar errors.

The particular keywords which cause the Google search interruption are called "敏感词" (Sensitive keywords) , it doesn't only target at Google, but also all the search engines in China, such as Baidu, Bing, Yahoo, so on and so forth.

II. The better search

After reviewing "the 350,000 most popular search queries" in China, Google has figured out those sensitive keywords and used them on its search service in mainland China, though they haven't been published to the public.

For any sensitive keywords in your query, they will be highlighted in yellow, and you will see a notice that the search may "temporarily break your connection to Google", such as what you can see from the following image:

Google hk sensitive keywords

The above notice is for in simple Chinese, and for the website, the notice will look like the following: interruption

You need to edit the search term by removing the highlighted keywords, or to click on the "Search anyway" link to get the results.

By the way, even though the instant search is on, will show you the notice, but won't during my test.

III. The shortcomings

Google calls its notice a better search, and it is indeed, whether to show their anger with GFW, or to let users know which keywords are censored in China, but there are also some shortcomings:

1. It may be not correct

Google tells you that a keyword "may" cause the interruption, which also means "may not".

2. It will slow down your searching

When a query is highlighted, whether partially or entirely, you have to edit it or click the "Search anyway" link to get the results, which will waste your searching time, especially when the highlighted keyword is not sensitive any more.

3. It doesn't solve any problem

Google just issues the censorship problem, but not give any resolutions. And it is nonsense when to search for "长" instead of "长江", since the results will be totally different.

IV. The Resolution

Unless you can overthrow the GFW, the only way to use the Google Search service in China without interruption is to use some anti-censorship tools, such as VPN, Proxy, SSH, etc.

Do you think Google will tell users how to block the internet censorship with those tools in China later? Share with us by leaving a comment.

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