[JURIST] The Chinese government reiterated its commitment to open Internet [press briefing, in Chinese] on Thursday, saying that international companies are welcome as long as they abide by Chinese law. Responding to a threat [JURIST report] by Google [corporate website] that it may remove its Internet services from the country, Foreign Ministry [official website, in Chinese] spokesperson Jiang Yu said that, "China has tried creating a favorable environment for the Internet." Jiang also stated that hacker attacks, such as those that allegedly occurred against Google and several other companies [Wired report] in December, are against Chinese law. The Chinese government is seeking clarification [Xinhua report] of Google's intentions, including the statement by Google that it will stop filtering search results. As Xinhua noted, as of Wednesday, Google was still filtering search results, consistent with Chinese government policy.
Google announced a new policy towards China on Tuesday in response to a cyber attack on its Gmail service in December. That attack targeted the e-mail accounts of human rights activists in China, and drew the ire of rights groups around the world. China's stance on Internet freedom, a source of contention in its relationship with Google, has long been controversial. In June, the Chinese government confirmed that filtering software [JURIST report] which is to be sold with every computer in China did not necessarily have to be activated. That confirmation came only after the policy of pre-packaging the software with new computers was challenged [JURIST report] by human rights lawyer Li Fangping.