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Government backs down on "Green Dam" but concerns remain

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is relieved by the government's announcement on 13 August 2009 that installation of its "Green Dam-Youth Escort" Internet-filtering software will not be obligatory on individually-owned computers but is nonetheless concerned that installation is to go ahead on computers in schools and Internet cafés.

"We hail this decision, which is the result of a major international outcry involving both government officials and the Chinese-language blogosphere," Reporters Without Borders said. "But the ministry of industry and information technology's insistence on installing the software on computers in schools, Internet cafés and other public places continues to worry us. As Internet cafés are very popular in China, this could do online freedom of information a great deal of harm."

At a news conference on 13 August, industry and information technology minister Li Yizhong said Green Dam's installation would be optional. It had been poorly presented and explained and had been misunderstood, he said, claiming that there had never been any intention of making its installation on individually-owned computers obligatory.

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