Beijing: In a new twist to Google-Beijing spat, China’s state media has described the Internet giant’s threat to withdraw from the country as a political conspiracy hatched by the US government.
Notably, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to deliver a policy speech on Internet Freedom on Thursday.
An editorial with the headline, ‘The world does not welcome the White House`s Google’, was published in Global Times, a nationalist tabloid owned by People`s Daily, the Communist party mouthpiece.
"Whenever the US government demands it, Google can easily become a convenient tool for promoting the US government`s political will and values abroad. And actually the US government is willing to do so," the piece said.
The paper further quoted Wu Xinbo, a political scientist at Fudan University, in an accompanying news story, as saying: “The Google incident is not just a commercial incident, it is a political incident".
In its Tuesday edition, China Youth Daily had said that some US politicians were making efforts to uphold human rights issues under the guise of a commercial dispute, CNN noted.
"In their hearts, when Google is in trouble that means that western culture is in trouble . . . Using Google to propagate American-style freedom of speech . . . is the real reason that Google chose not to address its problems in the market but through politics," the paper said.
According to Chinese papers, Google executives held a meeting with state department officials before announcing it had been attacked by hackers, indicating that the US firm had a hidden political mandate.
The State Department is taking cyberattacks on Google and other US firms very seriously and is seeking an explanation from Beijing but it is not the "foreign policy arm of Google," a US official said on Wednesday.
Alec Ross, the senior advisor for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also said that a speech Hillary is due to give on Thursday on Internet freedom would not focus solely on China.
In her speech at the Washington-based Newseum, Hillary will “lay out a series of initiatives”, Ross said.
Speaking of the cyberattacks which Internet giant Google said last week originated in China, Ross said: "I think it is important to emphasise the private nature of some of this.”
"This is primarily an issue between Google and 30 plus other private entities and the Chinese government," he said at the start of a panel discussion sponsored by the New America Foundation and Slate magazine.
"But we have responded with what I think is justifiable concern," Ross said. "We`ve asked for an explanation."
Ross added that the United States and China "have had conversations over the years where we`ve made clear our opinions both about the freedom of expression as well as cybersecurity.”
"So we`re taking this very seriously," he said.
"But all of that said, the State Department is not the foreign policy arm of Google," he said.
"So while we will look to the Chinese for an explanation, we do need to engage in this appropriately recognising the primacy of the role of the private sector actors within this," Ross said.
(With Agencies’ inputs)