Google’s threat to leave China over censorship and cyberattacks should not be “overinterpreted” or linked with Sino-US ties, state media quoted vice Foreign minister He Yafei as saying Thursday.
The brief reports from the China Daily and Xinhua news agency came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was preparing to give a major policy speech on Internet freedom in Washington.
Last week, Google said it may abandon its Chinese search engine and possibly leave the country altogether over what it called a “highly sophisticated” attack by China-based hackers and state censorship. Related article: Baidu lawsuit ‘without merit’, says US web firm
The US has asked China for an explanation of the attack, which Google said had hit its corporate infrastructure, and was likely aimed at gaining access to the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
“If Google has any problems in its business in China, these must be resolved according to Chinese law, and the Chinese government is willing to help resolve these problems,” the vice foreign minister was quoted as saying.
“The Google matter is not an issue between the governments of China and the United States,” his ministry said, according to the China Daily.
China has said the incident would not affect Sino-US trade ties, but has vehemently defended its right to filter information available on the web and repeatedly told foreign firms to obey the law.
“Google is not an exception,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said on Tuesday.