China responds to Google threat

China has responded to Google's threat to withdraw from the People's Republic if it is not allowed to offer uncensored access to Web searches by saying that Internet firms are welcome to trade there only if they do so within the law.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Ju told reporters at a regular briefing: "China's internet is open, and the Chinese government encourages development of the internet." She didn't add, "As long as you don't mention a free and independent Tibet, the Tiananmen Square massacre or anti government organisation Falun Gong".

The unpleasant spat started when Google implied that recent cyber attacks on well-known anti government organisations and individuals had a faint whiff of state interference about them.

Google is expected to have talks with government officials in the near future to come to an agreement but China is not known for its willingness to compromise, particularly with western capitalist mega-corporations which generate billions of dollars.

Google plays second fiddle to China's home-grown Baidu search portal, and holds only 30 per cent of the $1 billion a year market.

It's hard to see how the Internet giant can maintain its Don't Be Evil mantra whilst pandering to a regime that won't let its people use Facebook.