The People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party, is raving mad at Google. How come? The search giant had the gall to suffer a cyber security breach and actually report on who was affected and where the attack originated. The temerity, we know! An editorial in the government rag accuses Google of "deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China, and strongly hinting that the hacking attacks were the work of the Chinese government," reports The Wall Street Journal. "Google shouldn't engulf itself in the international political war as a tool for political gaming," read the article, penned by editor Zhang Yixuan. "[If there is] any change in the international atmosphere, I am afraid Google will become a target to be sacrificed by politics, and also will be discarded by the market."
According to the Journal, "The comments suggest mounting official anger toward Google in China." Just as a reminder, the perceived offense stems from last week's announcement that hundreds of e-mail accounts were hacked into by "bad actors" originating from Jinan, China. "The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users' emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples' forwarding and delegation settings," wrote Google engineering director Eric Grosse. The company did not lay blame on any state-actors, however it felt an obligation to report the incident as senior U.S. officials, Chinese political activists, journalists and military personnel all had their Gmail accounts hacked into. The mere reporting of the incident also ticked off China's military scholars, who penned an article in China's Youth Daily accusing the U.S. of unleashing an "Internet tornado" and fomenting an "Internet war."
When these hacking attacks began to be publicized over a year ago, Google partially pulled out of the country, which has not been great for its business, notes the Journal.
The company, which also complained about Chinese censorship regulations, later moved its mainland Chinese search service to Hong Kong and stopped complying with Beijing's requirement to filter search results. Google's share of online search revenue in China fell to 19% in the first quarter of this year from 36% in the fourth quarter of 2009, just before Google's cyberattack announcement, according to Beijing-based research company Analysys International.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.