China won’t waver for Google

Google will not be treated as an exception to China’s web censorship regime, according to the country’s Foreign Ministry.

China won't waver for Google

Google said last week it and other companies were targets of sophisticated cyber-spying from China that also went after Chinese dissidents. It also said it no longer wants to censor its Chinese search site and wants talks with Beijing about offering a legal, unfiltered Chinese site.

Foreign firms in China should respect China’s laws and regulations… and of course Google is no exception

Chinese officials have so far publicly fended off Google’s complaints and not openly flagged any talks with the world’s biggest internet search company, which opened its Chinese-language search site in 2006.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu today pressed the company a little more in comments that suggested scant room for giving way to Google’s demands. “Foreign firms in China should respect China’s laws and regulations, and respect China’s public customs and traditions, and assume the corresponding social responsibilities, and of course Google is no exception,” Ma told a regular briefing.

Ma did not mention censorship as being among those responsibilities, but other Chinese officials have.

Diplomatic row

Until now, the Foreign Ministry has avoided mentioning Google’s name in comments on the dispute, which has also drawn Washington into demanding an explanation from Beijing.

But Ma, like other Chinese officials, avoided directly hitting back at the US. When asked again about Google’s complaint that it had been hacked from within China, Ma said Chinese companies have also been hacked.

“China is the biggest victim of hacking,” Ma claimed, adding that eight out of 10 personal computers in China connected to the internet had been hacked.

Other countries are also being drawn into the dispute. India’s national security adviser M.K. Narayanan told the Times that his and other Indian Government offices had been the target of hacker attacks originating from China on 15 December, coinciding with attacks on Google and the other firms. “There is no basis at all for this claim,” Ma said.

Indian commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma declined to comment on the report. He said he had not brought up the issue with China’s Commerce Minister when they met in Beijing today.

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