China will delay the mandatory installation of the controversial Green Dam-Youth Escort filtering software on new computers, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Tuesday.

The pre-installation was delayed as some computer producers said such massive installation demanded extra time, said the ministry.

The ministry would continue to provide a free download of the software and equip school and Internet bar computers with it after July 1, said a spokesman with MIIT.

The ministry would also keep on soliciting opinions to perfect the pre-installation plan, he said.

All personal computers sold in China were required to have the government-mandated porn filtering software included with their PC packages as of July 1, according to MIIT's previous announcement.

The software is designed to block violence and pornographic contents on the Internet to protect minors. It could also help parents control how much time their children spent online, according to MIIT.

However, critics claim the Chinese government is using the software to tighten censorship.

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 previously.

The US embassy spokesperson said the US government also viewed with concern any attempt to restrict the free flow of information. Such steps were incompatible with China's aspirations to build a modern, information-based economy and society, the spokesperson said.

Several legal and technical experts had predicted that the government may have to revise or even scrap its directive.

MIIT, which responded on June 23 that the Green Dam live date 'unchanged' , finally claimed the delay of the mandatory installation