Google said on Monday it remained in talks with the Chinese government about censorship of its Chinese-language search portal, despite mounting signs the company could soon shut the site.
Google Inc, the world's biggest search engine, has been in a two-month standoff with Beijing over restrictions on the Internet and Google's claims that it and other companies were hit by hacking from within China.
The company's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said last week he hoped to announce soon an outcome from talks with Chinese officials on offering an uncensored search engine in that country of 384 million Internet users.
Many experts have doubted China's ruling Communist Party would compromise on censorship, and on the weekend the Financial Times reported the talks had reached an impasse and Google was "99.9 percent" certain to shut its Chinese search engine, Google.cn.
A Google spokesperson said on Monday talks with Chinese authorities had not ended, but added that the company was adamant about not accepting self-censorship.
A critical commentary on the website of the official Xinhua news agency appeared to assume that Google's pull-back was a certainty.
"The planet won't stop spinning because Google leaves, and Chinese Internet users will still remain online without Google," said the Chinese-language comment issued on Sunday.
"In the past, China's Internet developed very well without Google, and we can be sure that in the future, it will also develop in the same healthy way without Google."
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