Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Beijing wants to tone down the Google controversy and censor all information - online and in newspapers - on the dispute with the U.S. web giant. Washington has announced a formal protest and is asking for explanations for the "highly sophisticated" cyber attack from China, during which the e-mail account of human rights activists were violated. In the Asian country, meanwhile, the number of internet users continues to increase: by more than 28.9% in 2009.
Yesterday, the Chinese government tried to minimize the conflict with the Mountain View giant. In recent days, Google has threatened to pull out of the country if cases of piracy and the close censorship imposed by law continue. Yao Jian, spokesman of Chinese Ministry of Commerce, stresses that the United States and China "have multiple channels of communication" and have confidence in "the healthy development of economic and trade relations." He adds that neither the Ministry nor the Chamber of Commerce in Beijing have received indications that Google intends to leave China.
Washington contends that it is early to judge if economic ties between the two countries are affected. However, the dispute in recent days on censorship and attacks on the computer network adds to the controversy on the exchange rate of the Yuan, China’s protectionism and the United States arms sales to Taiwan.
The U.S. government has announced a "formal protest" to Beijing, which will be presented in coming days. After the attacks on Google, another U.S. network giant, Yahoo, also reported cases of software piracy from Chinese hackers. PJ Crowley states that the note "will express our concern" about the incidents and "ask for explanations from China."
Meanwhile, Chinese government propaganda has reinforced censorship to prevent the spreading of information on the case. Newspapers and web sites can not report comments or news and the official version is being broadcast through the state agencies Xinhua and People's Daily, who demand that Google "respect Chinese law."
In this regard, a survey published in recent days shows that 78% of Chinese support the internet censorship and do not want to give in to pressure from the American giant. However, on being posted online, the survey was subjected to a deluge of criticism votes inserted online overturned the result: China's internet users want freedom of information. The survey was hastily removed by the authorities.A recent survey carried out by China Internet Network Information Center (www.cnnic.net.cn) shows that in 2009, the number of Internet users grew by 28.9%. 86 million used the web for the first time last year, for a total of 384 million users of the network in China.
The company's executive director admitted that its Chinese partner "filters and censors messages passing through the portal". There is a growing list of companies forgoing freedom of expression a "basic Internet philosophy" to keep their place in the Chinese market.
Leaking news about social emergencies will be punishable by fines of between 5,000 to 10,000 euros. The clampdown on blogs and internet sites is also increasing. AsiaNews is one of the blocked sites.