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Reactions mixed over plan to filter Net access in China
Updated: 2009-06-27 17:04

BEIJING: Should every computer in China be installed with a filter software? And should the government make a decision before making the software known to the public and listening to their views?

Heated debates have arisen since the government said earlier this month that all computers sold in China would have to include software packages for filtering out online pornography.

On June 9, a filtering program named "Green Dam and Escorting Minors" was introduced to the public by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The software was said to be able to identify and block pornographic or violent images and words on the Internet. The package could also help parents control how much time their children spent online.

According to the MIIT, all new computers in China must have this software package pre-installed as of July 1.

Ma Jingjing, who works for a foreign company in Beijing, has a 7-year-old son. She told Xinhua: "I would like to try it on my family computer, but I don't think it is very necessary for the company. The company has its own software system and must consider business secrets."

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The MIIT said that the government's policy was arrived at "in response to calls from many schools and parents".

There are millions or even tens of millions of web pages with content that could be classified as pornographic. According to a report from the China Youth and Children Research Center inn April, about 48 percent of Chinese minors had visited "unhealthy websites."

However, there are a lot of people who are hesitant or skeptical when it comes to accepting the government's decision to install the software.

Ma Pengfei, who runs a personal computer business in northwest Beijing's Zhongguancun district, told Xinhua: "Few clients have asked about [Green Dam], and fewer said they want to install it."

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