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China Says ­npopular Filtering Software Optional

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China appeared to cave in to public pressure Tuesday (June 16) by announcing that computer users are not required to install Internet-filtering software — though it will still come with all PCs sold on the mainland.

A Ministry of Industry and Information Technology official reached by telephone told The Associated Press that use of the "Green Dam Youth Escort" software is "not compulsory." He would not give his name as is customary with Chinese officials. The apparent reversal of the government's position marked a small victory for a burgeoning anti-censorship movement in China. Internet users in particular have expressed growing frustration with official efforts to monitor and restrict online content.

The government had said the new software must be packaged with all computers sold in China beginning July 1, and installation was widely believed to be required. However, the ministry official and state media both said Tuesday that computer users are free to decide whether to use the new software.

From The Associated Press
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