A recently leaked US cable suggests that senior Chinese figures were behind the hacking of Google earlier this year which led the search engine to quit the country.
The cable reportedly suggests that hacking attacks against Google on January this year were orchestrated by China's top ruling body.
The document, released by whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks and published on the Guardian website, cites a "well-placed" source as saying that "the Chinese government coordinated the recent intrusions of Google systems."
It adds that the cyber attacks were directed by the powerful Politburo Standing Committee of China.
According to the source, whose name is deleted from the text, a politburo member is said to have demanded action against Google, after looking for his own name on the search engine and finding critical comments.
But the source told US diplomats in the leaked cable, dated 18 May 2009, that it is "unclear whether President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao were aware of these actions."
The sophisticated cyber attack and an ensuing row over internet censorship with Beijing finally prompted the US firm into abandoning mainland China and moving its Chinese-language operations to Hong Kong.
China has repeatedly defended its strict control on the Internet, vowing to continue blocking anything considered subversive or a threat to its national unity.
It has also cautioned foreign governments and companies to respect how it monitors the world's largest online population, where more than 400 million people are currently online.