Hackers have tried to break into certain personal Gmail accounts of senior US politicians, Chinese activists, military personnel and journalists by stealing passwords to gain access to emails.

Although Google was able to "disrupt" the attempts, it posted a detailed report on its official blog, saying that the campaign seems to have originated from Jinan in China.

The Chinese government is not particularly happy about this allegation, of course, with Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei saying, "Blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable.

"Hacking is an international problem and China is also a victim. The claims of so-called support for hacking are completely unfounded and have ulterior motives."

Google v China: round three

Google detailed the hack in an official blog post on the matter: "We recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing.

"This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists.

"The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users' emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples' forwarding and delegation settings.

"Google detected and has disrupted this campaign to take users' passwords and monitor their emails. We have notified victims and secured their accounts. In addition, we have notified relevant government authorities."

It's not the first time that Google has butted heads with the Chinese government; in 2009 China blocked access to Google to try and reduce access to online porn, and in March 2010, the search giant willingly pulled out of the country over censored search results.

Via The Official Google Blog and BBC