Internet firms need to follow China's laws, says official

China welcomes foreign Internet companies working in the country, but they must respect and abide by the country's laws, including those on expression, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, quoted in an Associated Press report, said.

The report, quoting ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, said China's reaction followed remarks by Google co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledging the Internet company had compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands.

The report quoted Liu as saying that China took a positive attitude toward working with companies such as Google, but any cooperation must exist "within a framework of law," and that Beijing hoped firms would abide by China's regulations.

Google's Brin said the Internet company had agreed to the censorship demands only after Chinese authorities blocked its service in that country, the report said.

Google's China-approved Web service omits politically sensitive information that might be retrieved during Internet searches, such as details about the June 1989 suppression of political unrest in Tiananmen Square, the report said.