The Net Revolution: Chinese Netizens vs. Green Dam
Celebrations that Beijing has bowed to global pressure and scrapped an order to use filtering software in all personal computers have turned out to be premature. On July 1, a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) spokesman said that while Beijing had, on June 30, postponed the installation of the China-made Net-screening device, “the government will definitely carry on the directive on Green Dam.” While Green Dam allegedly targets only pornography, foreign and Chinese experts alike think its real purpose is to censor “subversive” material and to prevent the country’s 300 million Netizens from fomenting dissent on China’s growing information superhighways (CNN.com, June 30; InformationWeek.com, July 2). Also indicative of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) determination to combat Net-based anti-government activities are plans to convict leading dissident Liu Xiaobo on charges of “inciting subversion to the state and the socialist system.” Dr. Liu is an internationally known writer who was a key organizer of the Net-empowered Charter 08 Movement, which the CCP deems one of the most potent challenges to its authority since the mid-2000s. Beijing leaders also appear to have been taken aback by the so-called “Twitter Revolution” in Iran, where liberal activists have used the Internet and allied vehicles to broadcast their opposition to the controversial presidential polls held last month.