Earlier this week, Internet giant Google threatened to pull out of China after cyber attacks that most likely came from the Chinese government.
On Thursday, the Chinese government responded.
Google said Tuesday it would stop censoring search results in China, and might shut down its China-based Google search portal altogether, after a series of cyberattacks aimed at breaking in to the g-mail accounts of Chinese human rights advocates.
"We decided to change our approach to China," said Peter Barron, head of communications and public affairs for Google UK. "These attacks on our system as well as the surveillance exercise that we've discovered has led us to believe that we should no longer agree to censor our results in China."
In China's first official response to Google's threat to leave the country, the government said today that foreign internet companies are welcome in China but must obey the law. China is the world's largest Internet market. But Beijing operates an extensive filtering system to block access to material it deems a threat to the communist government, such as human rights web sites.
After news spread that Google might pull out of China, Internet user left flowers at its Beijing headquarters on Wednesday, to thank it for standing up for human rights.
*Originally published January 14, 2010.