The US government is to issue a formal complaint to China over its alleged involvement with the hacking attacks revealed by Google and several other companies earlier this week.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters at a press conference that secretary of state Hillary Clinton has already spoken this week to Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, although he could not confirm whether the Google hack was on the agenda on that occasion.
"We will be issuing a formal démarche to the Chinese Government in Beijing on this issue in the coming days, probably early next week," he added.
"It will express our concern for this incident, and request information from China as to an explanation of how it happened and what they plan to do about it. "
Google issued an urgent statement on Tuesday claiming that it would have to re-evaluate its business operations in China, after it discovered that hackers originating in the country had tried to break into its corporate systems in order to monitor the Gmail accounts of human rights activists in the region.
"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered, combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web, have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China," wrote David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google.
Drummond added that Google will no longer comply with the Chinese government in censoring its search results in the region, and is set to discuss with the authorities "the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all".
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