Testifying on Capitol Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Google deputy general counsel Nicole Wong said that web censorship in China is a barrier to international trade, and that the U.S. government should register its disapproval of such policies with the World Trade Organization.

According to Bloomberg News, Wong told the committee that a move to arbitrate the dispute at the WTO would be "well worth consideration," and that blocking internet traffic "in a manner that favors domestic internet companies goes against basic international trade principles."

The Chinese, for their part, say that while they welcome international business and investment in their country, companies must abide by the China’s laws and customs.

Google has vowed to stop censoring search results provided by its Google.cn site, a move which could precipitate the company’s exit from the Chinese market altogether. Google announced this policy shift in the wake of a January cyber attack that, it says, was conducted with the complicity of the Chinese government.

With Chinese search engine optimization (SEO) now being affected by international politics and legal disputes, SEO professionals are watching further developments carefully.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.