Beijing: A day after world`s top search engine Google threatened to shut down its operations alleging cyberattacks and censorship, China on Thursday said that foreign internet firms were welcome to do business in the country "according to the law".
Offering Beijing`s first comments in response to its row with Google, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu sought to play down the differences saying that the Communist Government was against "any form of cyberattack such as hacking".
"China like all countries administers the internet according to the law", Jiang was quoted as saying by official news agency Xinhua.
Claiming that Internet was "open" in China, she said "The Chinese Government encourages development of Internet and is creating favourable environment for it".
Google, according to its top executives said it was taking this "extreme step" because of cyberattacks and censorship by the communist regime of content provided by Chinese human rights activists.
China has also stated its position on the Google row to the US after Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said Google`s allegations about cyber spying "raise very serious concerns and questions”.
The leader of the Chinese Parliament Wu Bangguo called on Washington to respect its "core interests" in his talks with the high level US Congressional delegation.
The Chinese reaction comes as Google announced on Tuesday that it would pull out of the world`s largest on-line market.
Xinhua quoted Wu as telling the Senators that China and US should "respect each other`s core interest and properly handle sensitive affairs" so as to maintain cordial relations.
The US Government came out in the support of Google with the Obama Administration backing the right to free Internet and Secretary of State Clinton asking for an explanation from Beijing.
Wu told the US Congressional delegation that the two countries should handle ties from a strategic and long-term point of view.
The row between China and Google has been criticised by the Chinese media which said that it would give "a big setback to net culture in the country".
"Should the world`s most populous and emerging nation stop to provide a foothold to the world`s top search engine", the Global Times said adding it would be a setback to China.
The paper said if Google pulled out it would be an "incalculable loss to China`s online population of 360 million".
"The information highway demands not only safe driving but also free flow of traffic and in the interest of the masses right to know, free flow of information should take precedence", the paper said.
The Global Times and another state run China Daily said while censorship was justified, in a "transitional society like China, some limits were needed."