A spokesman for the company said in an email that the company has discontinued the translation service in mainland China. It is possible that there were ulterior motives, but it is likely that the statement is true.
The story continues.
The Hong Kong domain is the only one that is accessible from the mainland. At some point in the last 24 hours, the Translate interface at translate.google.cn was replaced by a generic search page on the same day.
As a result of the change, the translation features of some apps are not compatible with China-based users. If we hear back, we'll update this piece.
There is a complicated relationship between the Chinese government and the internet giant. The Chinese version of the company's search engine was subject to government censorship. After state-sponsored hacks and government-ordered blocks on Google services in response to footage showing Chinese security forces beating Tibetans, the company temporarily shut down its search service in the mainland.
Many parts of China have a current version of the search engine's translate page. The image is from the internet search engine, GOOGLE.
A project code-named "Dragonfly", which would've recorded users' locations as well as their internet browsing histories, was explored as part of a relaunch of the search engine in China in the last two years. The plans were scuttled due to disagreements between the company's privacy team and the rest of the organization.
Following the enactment of a national security law in Hong Kong that gave local authorities greatly expanded surveillance powers, in 2020 Google said it wouldn't directly respond to data requests from the Hong Kong law enforcement and instead would have them go through a mutual legal assistance treaty with the US.
The National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which takes place October 16th, could be the reason for the disabling of Google Translate in most of the mainland. The Tiananmen Square massacre is one of the major political events that the Chinese government has blocked the internet service of.