China's government has shelved its controversial plan to install internet filtering software on every PC sold in China. A victory for internet freedom? More likely, the powers that be realised that the deadline — tomorrow — was hopelessly unrealistic and that the program, called Green Dam, was unlikely to be effective.
Needless to say, the vendors who would have to spend significant time and expense retrofitting the software to every PC in their supply chain, have preferred to keep silent on the government's apparent volte face.
Western media have been quick to trumpet the government's eleventh-hour change of mind as a “climbdown” that was due to the very vocal opposition that the plan had run into both in China and outside.
But even if the government does decide to permanently scrap the idea of installing web filtering software on users' computers — it has not said as such — then the internet will continue to be heavily policed in China.
Internet users in China still cannot read EngagingChina, however, or any of thousands of other sites that are hosted by blogging platforms or mainstream newspapers in the west, as they are blocked by China's internet firewall.
More in this earlier story.