China sent Google its most direct message yet on the search giant's plan to stop censoring its results.
According to a bevy of reports, Li Yizhong, the minister of Industry and Information Technology, said Google has to obey China's laws---and that means censoring search results.
The Associated Press has the money quote:
"If you want to do something that disobeys Chinese law and regulations, you are unfriendly, you are irresponsible and you will have to pay the consequences."
Li added that it's Google's call whether the company wants to leave China. Li also noted that China's Internet market will continue to develop.
Special Report: Google, China showdown
And there's the conundrum. China promises great growth prospects, but there are many strings for Web giants to ponder. Censorship is probably the biggest. As noted before, Google risks little in the short run by exiting China. The big question is the long-term hit.
In any case, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said something will happen soon with this showdown with China. China isn't budging so perhaps Google will just bolt.
More: Assessing Google's showdown with China