The war of words between China and Google is heating up.
China's top newspaper and mouthpiece for the country's Communist Party, the People's Daily, published a story today taking aim at the search giant, Reuters is reporting. And the statements indicate that there might be some political trouble ahead for Google.
"Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention," the paper reads, according to Reuters. "For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace."
The paper's comments are the latest critical comments made by the Chinese government, following Google's claims last week that the personal Gmail accounts of top U.S. government officials and Chinese political activists, among others, were targeted with phishing attacks aimed at gaining access to their accounts. Though Google stopped short of blaming the Chinese government for the attack, it said that they seemed to originate from Jinan, China, home to a Chinese government intelligence division.
Google said that it "detected and disrupted" the attack before any trouble occurred, but the U.S. government said that it was investigating the incident to ensure information was not obtained. Speaking to CNET last week, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said that the attacks were limited to Gmail and the organization had "no reason to believe that any official U.S. government e-mail accounts were accessed."
Though the People's Daily offered up vague threats to Google, it stopped short of saying how the company might be serving as a "tool" in a political battle. The paper also took the opportunity to deny that the attacks were launched by members of the government, and called Google's comments on the matter "spurious."
There's no love lost between China and Google. Trouble has been brewing between them for quite some time, and the relationship became especially strained in early 2010 after the search giant discovered a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on its corporate infrastructure that resulted in the theft of some of its intellectual property. Google, which was one of many companies targeted, said that the attacks originated from China, but once again, the Chinese government denied any involvement.
Google wasn't buying it, and the company threatened to remove its search service from China. After numerous shots were fired at either side, Google last year finally moved its China search to Hong Kong.
Google isn't the only company to have issues in China. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, among many others, are blocked within the country's borders.