Li Datong: China’s Civil Society: Breaching the Green Dam

Journalist Li Datong writes for China Dialogue about the emerging online civil society movement that scored an important victory with its opposition to the Green Dam filtering software:

Opposition took a range of forms. Some well-known intellectuals called for the details of the policy-making process to be made public so its legality could be checked. Some called for an “internet boycott” on 1 July. Most notable was the “2009 declaration of the anonymous netizens”: this started with greetings to the internet censors and went on to describe the internet as an unstoppable force of history that charted human society’s future direction. There was too an element of direct challenge: “for the freedom of the internet, for the advancement of internetisation, and for our rights, we are going to acquaint your censorship machine withd systematic sabotage and show you just how weak the claws of your censorship really are.”

The MIIT, faced with opposition both at home and overseas, announced on 30 June 2009 that it was postponing its plans. But it is clear that in effect the decision has been to abandon them altogether. In breaching the Green Dam, China’s internet users have scored their greatest victory yet.


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