The controversial ‘Green Dam – Youth Escort’ firewall that the Chinese government was supposed to roll out on Wednesday has been postponed indefinitely, in what many are calling a victory for the freedom of the Internet and a show of the limits of China’s totalitarian powers.
The firewall software was to be made a mandatory pre-requisite for new computers sold in the country, as the government claimed it would help stamp out pornography and other vile elements on the Web. The move, though, was widely criticised by industry groups and Washington officials as rash, politically intrusive, technically ineffective and commercially unfair, Reuters reported.
Officials have said that the reason for the delay was because some computer makers needed more time to include the software.
Meanwhile, activists celebrated after state-owned news agency Xinhua reported the withholding of the firewall.
“This shows that social pressure can’t be ignored,” said Zhou Zhe, a Beijing lawyer who challenged the legality of the plan. “They tried to control public opinion to back the plan by creating a fuss about pornography, but that failed, and they will have learnt to be more careful next time.”
But the English-language China Daily, citing an unidentified ministry official, said the plan would eventually come to pass.
“The government will definitely carry on the directive on Green Dam. It’s just a matter of time,” the official was quoted as saying.
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