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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China to punish hackers, says no Google complaint

March 8, 2010

March 7, 2010

BEIJING, March 7 -- China has pledged to punish
hackers who attacked Google if there is evidence
to prove it, but said it has yet to receive any
complaint from the world's top search engine.

Google sent shockwaves across business and
political circles in January when it declared it
would stop censoring Chinese search results, and
threatened to pull out of China -- the world's
largest online community with 384 million users
at the end of last year -- over hacking and censorship concerns.

Google had never filed a report to the Ministry
of Industry and Information Technology over the
cyber attacks or sought negotiations, Vice
Minister Miao Wei was quoted as saying by state
news agency Xinhua late on Saturday.

"If Google has had evidence that the attacks came
from China, the Chinese government will welcome
them to provide the information and will severely
punish the offenders according to the law," Miao said.

"We never support hacking attacks because China
also falls victim to hacking attacks," he said.

Google also never informed the ministry that it
was planning to withdraw from China, Miao added,
speaking on the sidelines of the annual session of parliament.

"If Google decides to continue its business in
China and abides by China's laws, it's welcome to
stay," he said, vowing to continue providing a
sound investment environment for foreign
investors and protect their legitimate rights.

"If the company chooses to withdraw from the
Chinese market, it must go through certain
procedures according to the law and regulations
and deal with customers' problems that may arise."

A Google spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Last Friday Minister of Industry and Information
Technology Li Yizhong said China was in
consultations with Google to resolve the issue. Li did not elaborate.

The dispute about Internet censorship has added
to tensions over issues ranging from trade and
the Chinese currency, to U.S. arms sale to
self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its
own, and a recent meeting between U.S. President
Barack Obama and Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The hacking issue made headlines again in late
February after reports in the Western media that
the attacks had been traced to two schools in
China, and the writer of the spyware used had
been identified as a Chinese security consultant
in his 30s with government links.

The Chinese government has denied Google's
accusation that the hackers were based in China,
calling the claim "groundless."

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Bill Tarrant)
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