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In tough remarks on Google, China gives no evidence that accord is near

March 12, 2010 | 12:55 pm

Yizhong-china-google

Chinese Internet official Li Yizhong.
Credit: Vincent Thian / AP

A top official in China further stoked the flames of the nation's dispute with Google on Friday when he said that if the search giant didn't follow its laws, it "will have to pay the consequences."

Li Yizhong, China's minister of industry and information technology, offered no new information on the status of the country's negotiations with Google, according to the Associated Press. Though Google hinted this week that an accord may be nearing over how the company will continue doing business there, the tenor of Li's comments sounded anything but conciliatory.

“If you want to do something that disobeys Chinese law and regulations, you are unfriendly, you are irresponsible and you will have to pay the consequences," he said.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt on Wednesday confirmed that his company was in "active negotiations" with the Chinese, and that "something will happen soon."  

In January, Google said it would stop the practice of censoring search results on Google.cn, the Chinese version of its search engine, even if it meant leaving the country altogether. The company made the declaration as part of a revelation that its computer system was attacked by Chinese hackers. 

 “Whether they leave or not is up to them,” Li said. “But if they leave, China's Internet market is still going to develop.” 

-- David Sarno

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