After four years of compliance, Google has said it can no longer run its business in China, quoting state censorship and heavy attacks on its network security. By threatening to pull out, the company has effectively accused the Chinese government of being impossible to work with and an untrustworthy partner.
Meanwhile the US government has said it takes Google's claims very seriously.
Google's move will put pressure not just on the Chinese authorities but on other Western companies working with IT inside China. It also highlights the new world of international information espionage, where states and their agents use the techniques and tools of the hacking world to gain information from and advantage over enemies and rivals, both state and commercial.