The strained relationship between Beijing and Washington took another hit Friday as China accused the Obama administration of leveling "groundless charges" after allegations that Chinese hackers penetrated computer systems of dozens of U.S. companies, including Google Inc.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu insisted that the Internet was open in China and warned that the U.S. should "properly handle differences" over the issue or risk damaging bilateral relations.
"We urge the U.S. side to respect the facts, and to stop using the so-called Internet freedom issue to make groundless charges against China," Mr. Ma said in a statement. posted on the ministry's Web site.
Beijing's sharp comments came less than 24 hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named China, among other countries, as having stepped up Web censorship. She called on Beijing to investigate Google's claims that China had stolen intellectual property and hacked into email accounts of human-rights activists. Read more.