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China delays controversial internet filtering plan

Green Dam agenda demanded every computer sold in China be installed with software that blocks specific content online

China has decided to delay its Green Dam programme that demanded installation of controversial web-filtering software on every computer manufactured and sold in the country from July 1st onwards.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said the plan “was postponed as some computer producers said such massive installation demanded extra time”, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Green Dam-Youth Escort filtering software, which is designed to protect minors by stamping out internet pornography, drew widespread criticism both at home and abroad. Though the MIIT revealed that the software can be easily uninstalled by users, activists labelled it as politically intrusive, technically flawed and demanded to know why software, designed only for a minority of users, would have to be installed on all computers in the country.

"The ministry would keep on soliciting opinions to perfect the pre-installation plan," an MIIT spokesman said, adding that it would continue to provide a free download of the software and equip school and internet cafés with Green Dam.

Statistics from MIIT showed that Green Dam had been downloaded 7.17 million times by the end of June, with more than 2 million school computers and 4.7 million machines at internet cafés across the country already protected by the software.