* China attacks Google
* Tough line signalled
BEIJING, March 23 China said on Tuesday that
Google Inc had violated a "written promise" and was "totally
wrong" to end censorship of its Chinese-language search portal,
signalling a tough line over the Internet dispute.
An unnamed official from China's State Council Information
Office, which helps oversee Internet rules, made the comments
after Google started redirecting users of its China
mainland-based Google.cn site to a portal in Hong Kong, ending
self-censorship of its Chinese-language searches.
The official's comments suggested Google could not expect an
easy time from mainland authorities, over two months after the
company said it would no longer accept self-censorship of its
Google.cn site and was also alarmed by sophisticated hacking
attacks coming from China.
"Google has violated the written promise it made on entering
the Chinese market," the official said, according to a report
from the China News Service, a state-run news agency.
"It is totally wrong in halting (censorship) filtering of
its search provider and also making aspersions and accusations
towards China about hacking attacks", said the official.
"We firmly oppose politicising commercial issues, and
express our dissatisfaction and anger at Google Inc's
unreasonable accusations and practices," said the official.
The State Council Information Office is the government arm
of China's propaganda apparatus, and is among several agencies
overseeing Internet policy for the ruling Communist Party.
China censors the Internet by requiring domestic operators
to use filters to screen out banned images and words, and also
operates a "firewall" to frustrate users trying to access
overseas websites that are deemed unacceptable.
The official said that Chinese government officials held
talks with Google twice -- on Jan. 29 and Feb. 25 -- to discuss
In those talks, China warned Google that if it chose to shut
its China-based search portal, it would have to do so according
to Chinese law and also ensure that left-over problems were
handled "responsibly," said the report.
(Reporting by Chris Buckley, editing by Tim Pearce)