China warns Google not to stop filtering web searches

China on Friday warned Google it would face "consequences" if it stopped filtering its search results, after the firm threatened to leave the country over cyberattacks and web censorship.

The comments from the minister of industry and information technology, Li Yizhong, came after the US Internet giant said it was prepared to leave the world's largest online market if Beijing continues to insist on its censoring its web searches.

"We support (Google) to expand its business and market share in China," Li told reporters at a briefing on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the country's parliament.

"But if (it)... violates Chinese laws, it would be unfriendly and irresponsible and (the company) will definitely be responsible for the consequences," he said.

Beijing tightly controls online content in a vast system of censorship often called the "Great Firewall of China", removing information it deems harmful - including pornography and violence, but also politically sensitive material.

Google threatened in January to abandon its Chinese-language search engine and perhaps leave China altogether over what it said were cyberattacks aimed at its source code and at the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

The company has since continued to filter results on Google.cn and posted ads for dozens of positions in China, which has 384 million web users.

Google has said it was currently in talks with the Chinese government on its future in the nation.

"Google is firm in its decision that it will stop censoring our search results for China," Google vice president and deputy general counsel Nicole Wong told the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee this week.

"If the option is that we'll shutter our .cn operation and leave the country, we are prepared to do that," she said at a hearing on the relationship between Internet technology and aiding democratic activists around the world.

The company has not given a time frame for ending its filtering.

Li, the Chinese industry minister, said Google's withdrawal would not generate much of an impact on the country's Internet market.

"If it decides not to withdraw and stay in China, we will welcome it and it will benefit China's Internet development," he said.

"If it decides to leave... China's Internet market will continue to develop fast and will not be impacted too much."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager - Enfield, North Lond...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Advisor

£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A chance to work for an extreme...

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea