The US Government is expected to issue a formal complaint to Beijing over cyber attacks on Google and other foreign businesses working in China
The row over the Chinese attacks on Google shows no sign of slowing after it emerged that the US Government is planning to formally protest to the Chinese government about the issue.
Google said on 12 January that it will stop censoring searches on its Google.cn and reconsider the feasibility of even doing business there, after the search giant reported the cyber attacks.
According to Google, the attacks were at least partially aimed at obtaining personal information on Chinese dissidents using Gmail.
“We will be issusing a formal demarche to the Chinese government in Beijing on this issue in the coming days, probably [this week],” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told the Washington Post on 15 January.
Following the incident, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said, “We have been briefed by Google on these allegations, which raise very serious concerns and questions. We look to the Chinese government for an explanation. The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy.”
“I will be giving an address next week on the centrality of internet freedom in the 21st century, and we will have further comment on this matter as the facts become clear.”
Clinton plans a major address on international policy and Internet free speech 21 January.
Beijing, for its part, has said the government had nothing to do with the attacks, accused the US of protectionism and warned US companies it expects Chinese Internet laws to respected.
Reuters reported Minister Wang Chen of China’s State Council Information Office said in an interview, “Our country is at a crucial stage of reform and development, and this is a period of marked social conflicts. Properly guiding Internet opinion is a major measure for protecting Internet information security.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu added in another interview, “China welcomes international Internet businesses developing services in China according to the law. Chinese law.”
Google’s possible pull back from China comes at a time when Washington is attempting to persuade Beijing to curb its Internet censorship policies as part of the US’s larger policy initiatives involving the intellectual property rights of companies doing business in China, where piracy rates are high.
Speaking in Beijing last November, President Obama told Chinese students participating in an online town hall meeting, “I’ve always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States.” proscribes any form of hacking activity.”