WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged China Thursday to investigate cyber intrusions that led Google to threaten to pull out of that country - and challenged Beijing to publish its findings openly.
"Countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of Internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century," she said.
"Some countries have erected electronic barriers that prevent their people from accessing portions of the world's networks," she said in a speech about Internet freedom and its place in U.S. foreign policy.
Google said Jan. 12 that it will remain in China only if the government relents on rules requiring the censorship of content the ruling Communist Party considers subversive. That came after Google said it uncovered a computer attack that tried to plunder its software coding and the e-mail accounts of human rights activists protesting Chinese policies.
In response to Clinton's remarks, Google issued a statement welcoming her support for cyber security and Internet freedom.
Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said in Beijing, "The Google case should not be linked with relations between the two governments and countries; otherwise, it's an over-interpretation," according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
The Xinhua report did not mention censorship, instead referring to Google's "disagreements with government policies."