China has denied claims by Google that a spate of hacking attacks that targeted the company originated from two Chinese universities.

In January, the Internet giant said it had faced cyber-attacks targeting the E-mail accounts of several Chinese human rights activists. Google has since announced it would stop censoring its search-engine in China, and possibly close down its China operations.

Universities

American investigators have reportedly traced the attacks to two Chinese universities — the well-reputed Shanghai Jiaotong University, known for its computer science programme, and the little-known Lanxiang vocational college.

In its first official response to Google's claims, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said the allegations were unfounded.

“Reports that these attacks came from Chinese schools are totally groundless and the accusation of Chinese government involvement is also irresponsible and driven by ulterior motives,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang.

“According to law”

He added: “China administers its internet according to law, and this position will not change. China prohibits hacking and will crack down on hacking according to law.”

The Chinese government restricts access to politically-sensitive websites, and foreign companies registered here are required to follow China's censorship policies. China has the world's biggest and fastest-growing internet market, with more than 380 million Internet users.

The New York Times had reported on Thursday that the cyber-attacks had been traced to two Chinese universities and specifically to a computer science class taught by a Ukrainian professor at Lanxiang in northern Shandong province.

Both universities have strongly denied any involvement. Li Zixiang, Lanxiang's head, said the school was a vocational school that taught “cooking, auto repair and hairdressing”. Lanxiang had no Ukrainian teacher, he said.

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