China rejects Google hacking claims

BEIJING Thu Jun 2, 2011 8:31am BST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said it "cannot accept" accusations that hackers likely based in China tried to break into hundreds of Google mail accounts.

"Blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable," ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing.

"Hacking is an international problem and China is also a victim. The claims of so-called support for hacking are completely unfounded and have ulterior motives," he said.

The unknown perpetrators, who appeared to originate from the city of Jinan in Shandong province, recently tried to crack and monitor email accounts by stealing passwords, but Google detected and "disrupted" their campaign, the world's largest Web search company said on its official blog.

The revelation comes more than a year after Google disclosed a cyberattack on its systems that it said it traced to China, and could further strain an already tense relationship between the Web giant and Beijing. Google eventually all but pulled out of the world's largest Internet market by users.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott)