China threatens Google over hacking claims

Published: 8 June 2011 y., Wednesday

China has warned Google that its business could suffer if it continues to suggest that Chinese spies have been targeting the emails of United States' officials.

Google is "trying to provoke a new dispute between China and the US" and has become a "political tool", said a front-page editorial of the Chinese-language People's Daily Overseas, an offshoot of the Communist party's main newspaper mouthpiece.

"Google's accusations aimed at China are spurious, have ulterior motives, and bear malign intentions," the commentary said.

"Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention," the paper added.

"For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace," it said, without specifying how Google's business could be hurt.

Over the weekend, China's Defence minister, Liang Guanglie, also denied China's involvement and said China was also a major target for hackers. According to China's Internet Emergency Response Centre, China saw a 1620.3 per cent rise in cyber attacks in 2010, many of them seeming to originate from the United States.

The People's Daily said Google was "deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China" and that it had repeatedly failed to produce any evidence for its cyber-espionage claims.

"This is not the first slander from Google [...] if the company has any evidence, why not settle the matter through the courts," the editorial said. "Why does Google again and again try to discredit China and try to sway public opinion towards thinking there is a China threat?"

Computer security experts in the US, however, said the number of attacks emanating from China had spiked in recent months. Kevin Mandia, chief executive of Mandiant, one security firm, told the Wall Street Journal that his firm saw four to five times the normal number of attacks in April.

Google closed down its China-based servers last year after complaining about hacking attacks and censorship and now redirects Chinese internet users to its Hong Kong search engine.


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