A state-run newspaper in China has written a blistering condemnation of Google's assertion that the Chinese government was behind recent attacks against Gmail users in the US government and elsewhere. China called Google's accusations "political gaming" and said that the US search giant was trying to harm China/US relations.

Most important, of course: China denied that it had any role in the recently revealed Gmail hacking attempts.

"Google's charge is thickly tainted with political colors," reads an editorial in People's Daily, China's official Communist Party paper. "One can't dismiss the fact that Google is taking advantage and provoking new Sino-American Internet security disputes with sinister intentions. Today's Google really makes one wring one's hands. What was once a model of leading Internet innovation has now become a political tool for slandering other countries."

There's even a bit of a threat in the editorial: "Once the international winds change, Google might become a political sacrifice and might be discarded by the market," it reads.

Although Google hasn't issued an official response, the company defended its decision to go public with the hacking attempt. "We think users should be aware of this disturbing campaign," a Google spokesperson said. The company previously revealed that hackers in the Chinese city of Jinan had tried to usurp control of hundreds of Gmail accounts belonging to US government employees, including some in the White House, as well as various US military personnel, Chinese political activists, and journalists.

This is the second major episode involving China-based attacks on Google services, and the second time in which the Chinese government was at least implicitly blamed. Google previously revealed a widespread attack against its internal systems that occurred in January 2010.