China’s Communist Party fired a warning shot at Google today over last week’s hacking controversy. In the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the party’s leading newspaper, the Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected Google’s accusation that attempts to steal hundreds of Google email account passwords—from U.S. government officials and Chinese human rights activists and journalists—came from inside China. The front-page commentary warned Google that blaming China was a risky political maneuver. According to the editorial:
Google was “deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China, and strongly hinting that the hacking attacks were the work of the Chinese government.” Adding, “Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention.”
The party went on to insinuate that assigning blame to the Chinese government will only hurt Google’s market position in China, which was already slipping to native rival Baidu after last year’s tension between China and Obama administration over hacking and censorship. The powers that be warned Google:
“For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace.”
You know what else panders to “negative Western perceptions of China”? Using the Communist Party mouthpiece to issue thinly-veiled threats for identifying a massive hacking scheme that directly benefits the Community Party. Somewhere in Palo Alto, Sheryl Sandberg is quietly typing out her I-told-you-so’s.