China will not back away from its July 1 launch date for the controversial anti-pornography computer filter Green Dam Youth Escort, a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) source said on Monday.
The assertion followed criticism from the US embassy in Beijing about the software's potential impact on trade and about technical issues that called into question the program's efficacy.
The Chinese government has been calling for all personal computers sold in China mainland to have the government-mandated porn filtering software included with their PC packages as of July 1.
The introduction of Green Dam has raised concerns from industry as well as rights groups, ranging from worries about compatibility, intellectual property rights and support for the software to cyber-security and Internet freedoms.
The US government is concerned about Green Dam, both in terms of its potential impact on trade and the serious technical issues raised by use of the software, a US embassy spokesperson said last Sunday.
Many web users and activists both inside and outside China fear a campaign against unhealthy sites is a pretext for a wider crackdown on groups and websites that the government fears or disapproves of.
Outspoken Beijing artist Weiwei Ai, who helped design the landmark Olympic Bird's Nest stadium but has become an increasingly vocal critic of the government, called on web users to boycott use of the Internet on the day of Green Dam's debut, Reuters reported on Monday.
Representatives from the US embassy, the MIIT and the Ministry of Commerce held a meeting on the subject last Friday but details of the discussion are unknown.
The MIIT didn’t give any comments on the remarks on Monday, but confirmed that the deadline still applied.