LAST THURSDAY, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced its withdrawal of requirements that Green Dam Internet censorship software come pre-installed on all computers. This victory is not unblemished. China is continuing to install the software in computers at Internet cafes and universities. And some manufacturers continue to include it with computers shipped to the country. But the outcome — although not perfect — is a success for the Chinese people and the cause of Internet freedom.
The prevailing argument from Western companies that have been dealing with China has often been that of inevitability — if we don’t accept Chinese demands, someone else will. But the successful pushback against Green Dam by computer manufacturers and the State Department suggests another possibility: If everyone remains firm, we can achieve results.