June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc.’s reports that Chinese hackers may have organized attacks on U.S. and Asian government officials using the company’s Gmail service “defamed China,” the official People’s Daily said in an editorial.
Google was “strongly insinuating” without evidence that the Chinese government directed the alleged cyber attacks, the editorial said. The U.S. company’s accusations were “very serious” and reinforced the “western world’s negative perceptions of China,” according to the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated newspaper.
Internet hackers tried to steal passwords from hundreds of users of Google’s Gmail e-mail service, targeting the accounts of government officials in the U.S. and Asia, the Mountain View, California-based company said last week. The campaign, based on a so-called phishing scam, appeared to have originated in the Chinese city of Jinan, according to Google, which didn’t say who was responsible for the attacks.
Jessica Powell, a Google spokeswoman in Tokyo, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail and message left on her mobile phone seeking comment.
Blaming China for the hacking of Google’s customer accounts is “unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on June 2. The government “disapproves” of hacking activities, and punishes them, he said.
“Google should not be embroiled in international political conflicts, and be used as a political tool,” the People’s Daily editorial said. Google’s accusations risk exacerbating tensions between China and the U.S. on Internet safety, it said.
In January 2010, Google said it was targeted by “highly sophisticated” attacks from inside China aimed at obtaining proprietary information, as well as personal data belonging to human-rights activists who use the Gmail service, prompting the company to pull its search-engine operations out of the country. In March this year, Google accused the Chinese government of blocking Gmail.
“This is not the first time Google has libeled China,” the People’s Daily editorial said.
--Editors: Dave McCombs, Chua Kong Ho
To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at email@example.com