Chinese government seeking information on Google intentions

18:30, January 13, 2010      

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An official with China's State Council Information Office Wednesday said Chinese Internet authorities were seeking more information on Google's statement that it could quit China.

The high-ranking official, who requested anonymity, made the remarks in a phone interview with Xinhua, a day after Google's corporate development and chief legal officer, David Drummond, posted a statement Tuesday on the company's official blog, saying it was to "review the feasibility of our business operations in China."

"It is still hard to say whether Google will quit China or not. Nobody knows," the official said.

He refused to reveal more information, but promised to follow the case and accept more interviews if possible.

Google's possible retreat from China has prompted the company's 700 China staff to fear for their jobs.

"We were told that Google might quit China at a general meeting on Wednesday morning, and all of us feel very sad," said an employee with Google's Beijing office on condition of anonymity.

Drummond's post said that censorship in China and recent attacks targeting Google's services in China forced the company tomake the review.

The post also indicated the possibility that Google may "shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China."

If Google did quit China, about 700 employees with the company's offices around China would lose their jobs, the anonymous employee said.

In a short reply to Xinhua questions Wednesday, a public relations officer named Lynn Lin said, "We are proud of our achievements in China. Currently we are reviewing the decision and hope for a resolution."

Drummond's post also said Google would try to negotiate with Chinese government for more favorable operating conditions in China.

However, the anonymous employee told Xinhua that most Google employees were pessimistic about the outcome of the negotiations.

"No agreement will be reached with both sides refusing to give in," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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