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China Urges Google to Follow Chinese Laws as Google Postpones Mobile Phone Launch

China Urges Google to Follow Chinese Laws as Google Postpones Mobile Phone Launch

China says it has clear laws against computer hacking, rejecting allegations it may have been behind attacks on Internet giant Google. At the same time, a government spokesman urged Google to obey all laws that require filtering of content that China deems illegal. Meanwhile, Google on Tuesday postponed the sales launch of its mobile phone in China. A Google spokeswoman refused to give a reason for the postponement or say when the launch might be rescheduled.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu repeated his government's position that the Internet in China is open.

At the same time, Ma says, foreign enterprises operating in China need to follow Chinese laws and regulations, and also must respect cultural traditions and live up to their responsibilities.

The spokesman said pointedly that Internet giant Google is no exception to the rules.

His comments come days after Google revealed it has been the victim of hacking attacks that originated in China. The U.S. company is considering leaving China because it is concerned about growing Chinese efforts to limit free speech on the Web.

Google has said it is reviewing its China operations, and is working to find a resolution with Chinese authorities.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman Tuesday had no specific information about any contact between Google and the government.

He says China, which has the world's largest number of computer users, more than 350 million people, is also, in his words, "a big victim of hacking."

The Chinese spokesman said cyber hacking attacks on Chinese enterprises and Chinese government Web sites grew sharply in 2008. He says the Web site, Baidu, which is the largest search engine in China, was hacked this month by a group calling itself the "Iranian Cyber Army."

Ma says the government is firmly against all kinds of hacking and that Chinese laws prohibit it. He did not say whether there is an investigation into Google's allegations, but says the government will deal with "relevant cases" according to law.

China regularly blocks access to hundreds of Internet sites, particularly those of international news organizations, including VOA's site. In addition, social media networks, such as Facebook, also are usually blocked in China.