U.S. Plans to Protest Chinese Google Attacks

 
 
By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2010-01-19
 
 
 

The U.S. government plans to formally protest to the Chinese government the network attacks on Google and other companies doing business in China that Google claims originated in China. Google said Jan. 12 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 Jan. 15.

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 Jan. 21.

Beijing, for its part, has said the government had nothing to do with the attacks, accused the U.S. of protectionism and warned U.S. companies it expects Chinese Internet laws to be 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."

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 U.S.'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."

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