Internet big Google is a political tool , a top Chinese official told a Beijing paper Monday, claiming the U.S. internet magnet's comments about hacking attacks linked to China is bad for their business.

The public lashing came as political tensions between the United States and China over Internet safety could hit a boiling point.

Just last week, Google said it halted a Chinese effort to steal the passwords of hundreds of G-Mail users, which include top U.S. officials, Chinese reporters and dissidents.

China's foreign ministry cried fowl over those comments warning Google in front page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily.

Google's accusations aimed at China are spurious, have ulterior motives, and bear malign intentions, said the paper's editor.

Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention, the paper added. For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace, it said, without specifying how Google's business could be hurt.

A call to Google was not immediately returned.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates signaled this weekend that Washington is at the ready to use forces against cyber attacks seen as acts of war.