The Wall Street Journal today reports that China's industry minister Li Yizhong has said China will not force mass installation of the Green Dam Internet filtering software on PCs and other consumer products.
The Green Dam software has been heavily criticized ever since the Chinese government announced that all computers shipped in mainland China after July 1 must ship with the software preinstalled. However, according to Yizhong, the government had always intended for the software to be optional and up to the individual who is responsible for the computer.
"The choice is yours," he said according to WSJ, saying that the regulations were unclear when first released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in May.
Li went on to say that the software is aimed at protecting children from unsavory content on the web. Nothing is mentioned about the software's alleged ability to block political content as well as porn. Just after the Chinese government announced its Green Dam plans, a report by Harvard University researcher Isaac Mao (who had seen the code) detailed that there were two kinds of keyword documents in the software: one related to pornographic content, and the other related to political content. Mao said the documents related to political content are much, much bigger than those related to pornographic content.