China Brushes Off Google Threat, Welcomes Law Abiders (Update1) brushed off Google Inc.’s threat to withdraw from the country because of censorship requirements and cyber attacks, saying it encourages the development of an open Internet.
China welcomes international enterprises to operate Internet services “in accordance with the law,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular briefing in Beijing today. Chinese law prohibits hacking and other forms of online attacks, she said, declining to say whether the law also applies to government agencies.
Mountain View, California-based Google said Jan. 12 in a blog posting that it wanted to reach an agreement with the Chinese government to allow unfiltered Internet searches, and would be removing restrictions in coming weeks.
“We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China,” Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote.
A separate Chinese government arm earlier today defended the nation’s right to censor the Internet.
“Effective guidance of public opinion on the Internet is an important way of protecting the security of online information,” Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, said in a question-and-answer session with reporters, a transcript of which was posted on the office’s Web site today.
Wang’s remarks suggest China will not grant Google’s request to allow unfiltered Internet searches, said Duncan Clark, the Beijing-based Chairman of BDA China, a telecommunications and Internet consulting company. Still unclear is whether China will move to restrict Google’s main Web site and other functions such as Gmail and Google Maps, Clark said.
“ is toast,” he said in an interview. “Just keep pressing refresh on your browser and see what happens.”
Wang also said hacker attacks on Chinese computer networks rose 148 percent in 2008 from the previous year. The transcript of Wang’s remarks made no reference to Google.
“China is a country being harmed by Internet hackers and is firmly opposed to hacking attacks,” Wang said.

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