Google CEO Eric Schmidt has refused to attach great importance to the company's on-going tiff with Chinese authorities until a conclusion is reached, Sky News reported today.
Schmidt was speaking about the issue at the Guardian Activate media conference in London, after it emerged that Chinese regulators had blocked Google's 'suggest' search feature.
Schmidt said: "I want to be clear. The Chinese government has the arbitrary ability to shut Google down in mainland China if they should chose to. So far they have not done so and we would hope that they would not."
While Schmidt has refused to talk about the issue, he has made it clear that he is not personally dealing with the Chinese government.
Google has had poor relations with the Chinese Communist Party over its content filtering and censorship policies, as a result of which Google began to redirect Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong site.
China has threatened not to renew the company’s internet content provider (ICP) licence, which allows it to operate in the country after it expired on Wednesday.