Google has recently become the pet peeve of the Chinese government after the Internet giant said it had broken up an effort to steal passwords of hundreds of Google email account holders, which include US government officials, journalists and Chinese human rights activists. Government officials from the Chinese Foreign Ministry denied those accusations and warned Google that it’s playing a risky political game.
The People’s Daily, China’s ruling Communist Party newspaper, warned that Google’s act of vilifying the Chinese government could hurt Google’s business in China. The warning appeared on the front-page of the newspaper’s overseas edition saying that political tensions between the United States and China could linger.
It was last week when Google said it was able to prevent the attacks and traced the source of hacking to China. It said the hacking attacks that occurred last week appeared to come from Jinan, Shandong’s capital, located in the eastern part of China. It is also the home to the People’s Liberation Army, an intelligence unit.
The front-page commentary said that Google was deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China when it hinted that the hacking attacks were the work of the Chinese government. It said that Google’s accusations against China are spurious and have ulterior motives. It said that it was intended to malign China and its government.
A Google spokesperson said that Google had no comment on the news report.
It should be noted that Google partly pulled out of China when the Obama administration took up Google’s complaints about hacking and censorship from China. As a result, Google lost most of its market share to Baidu Inc., its rival in the Chinese Internet market. There are approximately 450 million Internet users in China.
In the US, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that Washington is prepared to use force against cyber-terrorists and would consider cyber-attacks as acts of war.
The issue of censorship in China heightened when news about uprisings against authoritarian regimes sparked across the Arab world. It led to overseas Chinese websites calling for protests in China which resulted in tightened Internet censorship.