In a blog entry posted in the Google Official Blog, David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer explained the company's position regarding its relationship with the Chinese government.
Google makes it clear they are not prepared to leave the country, but trying to find balance.
David Drummond said "Ever since we launched Google.cn, our search engine for mainland Chinese users, we have done our best to increase access to information while abiding by Chinese law. This has not always been an easy balance to strike, especially since our January announcement that we were no longer willing to censor results on Google.cn."
Currently Google automatically redirects everyone using Google.cn to Google.com.hk, the company's Hong Kong search engine. This redirect offers unfiltered search in simplified Chinese.
"It’s clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable—and that if we continue redirecting users our Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed (it’s up for renewal on June 30). Without an ICP license, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn—so Google would effectively go dark in China."
Saying this is a prospect dreaded by many of our Chinese users, Google looked for alternatives - and it seems they are ready to abide, but without the censorship. Instead of automatically redirecting all users to the Hong Kong site, the company started taking a small percentage of them to a landing page on Google.cn that links to Google.com.hk—where users can conduct web search or continue to use Google.cn services like music and text translate. Those services can be provided locally without filtering.
Doing this the company avoid censoring search results, while still providing access to local content. Eventually all users of Google.cn will see this change.
David Drummond also says that Google have re-submitted their ICP license renewal application approach. "This new approach is consistent with our commitment not to self censor and, we believe, with local law. We are therefore hopeful that our license will be renewed on this basis so we can continue to offer our Chinese users services via Google.cn."