The news that Google had a secret search engine project designed for China sparked intense criticism. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said it was "important to explore" the market.
Google "must comply with the requirements of the law," a now-deleted state media article read.
The project leader called it a "Great Wall of culture" that would rival Wikipedia, which is partly blocked in China.
China is reinforcing its censorship of the internet by cracking down on VPNs.
Internet censorship has prevented China's citizens learning about leaders' links to the Panama Papers.