THE GLORIOUS People's Republic of China has warned that there might be repercussions for Google's accusations that it was behind hacks of its Gmail email service.
The report surfaced in an overseas edition of The People's Daily, a major newspaper run by China's government. It accused Google of becoming a political tool for the US government and suggested that its frequent allegations could harm its business in China, according to Reuters.
The hacks last week involved simple phishing tactics to gain access to logins and passwords. Targets included US government officials, Chinese rights activists, military personnel and journalists.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied having anything to do with the attacks. Technically Google didn't outright accuse China of involvement, but its implication was clear from the reference to Chinese rights activists, a view pointed out by The People's Daily.
The paper went on to say, "Google's accusations aimed at China are spurious, have ulterior motives, and bear malign intentions. Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention. For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace."
This is a very stark warning that can only heighten tensions between Google and China. Google is already losing ground to rival search engine Baidu in China, but its Chinese operation represents a very small part of its business. While losing business in China would be bad, Google is most likely aware of how much business it could lose if it ignored such hacking attempts.
Google first ran into problems with Chinese hackers in 2009 and 2010. It threatened to withdraw completely from China over the incident. In March of this year another attack occured, in which China again denied involvement. It does not appear that such attacks will end anytime soon. µ