By Kim Hart - 02/20/10 03:47 AM EST
The State Department has lodged a verbal complaint with Chinese officials over the alleged cyber attacks and censorship of Google's network.
State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said today in a press conference, "We have had multiple conversations with Chinese officials on this issue. And that included a direct conversation between Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Yang in London, you know, late last month."
"So I think we have satisfied
ourselves that the Chinese understand the importance with which we view
this issue," Crowley continued. "We have called on the Chinese to conduct a thorough review
cyber-intrusions that -- and they are obviously in the best position to
evaluate what -- what has and continues to occur within their -- within
their borders. A demarche can be a written statement, it can be a
verbal statement. The secretary directly engaged Foreign Minister Yang
issue. So if you want to call that a demarche, I -- I think -- you
know, we have done what we set out to do, which is to directly express
our concerns at high levels about this activity and to encourage China
to investigate it thoroughly."
Google threatened to pull out of China after detecting widespread cyber attacks on its infrastructure. Although Google still operates in the country, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported Google's decision and declared Internet freedom a diplomatic priority for the Obama administration. Lawmakers and White House officials have called on other technology companies to follow Google's lead and refuse to cooperate with China's regime of censorship.
Crowley stopped short of saying the U.S. government demanded concrete answers from China regarding the alleged attack, instead merely "encouraging" China to investigate the situation. Chinese officials have maintained that companies operating within the country's borders must abide by its communications law, which censor certain religious and political speech.