Further to our earlier story on visitors to Google Blogsearch being redirected to Baidu in China, new reports have surfaced that would indicate that China has unilaterally blocked all three major search engines in China and is redirecting all requests to Baidu .
Digital Marketing Blog posts that all requests to Yahoo.com and sub-sites are being redirected to Baidu. Google Blogscoped forums indicate that Live.com is also being re-directed to Baidu, as well as confirming the Yahoo story and our earlier Google post. The re-direct would also appear to apply to YouTube.com.
There is some suggestion that the news of the Dalai Lama being awarded a prize by US President George W Bush may be behind the move, but this is unable to be confirmed.
I’ve written previously on the possibility that China may use its firewall as an economic tool as opposed to a censorship tool alone, and although censorship may be partially behind todays blanket ban of US search sites, the redirect to Baidu would indicate an economic motive; if the Chinese Government were serious about censorship alone we would have reports of page not found/ blocked messages, not redirects to Baidu. The Chinese Government is clearly using its censorship regime to the economic benefit of a Chinese owned (but NASDAQ listed) company. Although the United States Government is a poor WTO member (Antigua anyone) given that China is a recent member the US Government should lodge a complaint with the WTO. China expects free and open access to Western nations but is now not only blocking, but also redirecting domestic traffic away from Western internet sites that compete with local firms.
Update: Danny Sullivan has confirmation on the block and redirect from Google.