Phelim Kine: Leaning on the Dragon

Written by Phelim Kine, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, from New York Times:

Who says the Chinese government isn’t susceptible to pressure? Its last-minute suspension of an order requiring the pre-installation of Internet filtering software called into question the popular notion that China is chronically impervious to pressure.

The “Green Dam Youth Escort” software attracted ire inside and outside China due to assessments by both independent analysts and computer industry representatives that the program, pitched as a tool to block pornographic content from personal computers, represented a much more sinister threat to privacy, choice and security.

After weeks of scathing criticism from some of China’s nearly 300 million netizens, unprecedented opposition by foreign computer manufacturers and international business associations, and a threat from both the United States trade representative and U.S. secretary of commerce that Green Dam might prompt a World Trade Organization challenge, Beijing blinked.

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