China will still require Green Dam Web filter program

China has not lifted its requirement that an Internet filtering program be shipped with all computers sold in the country, even though the plan was postponed this week, state media said.

It is just “a matter of time” before the mandate for PC makers to ship the program takes effect, the web site of the official newspaper China Daily cited an unnamed official as saying.

China indefinitely delayed enforcement of the mandate late Tuesday, just hours before the deadline originally set for foreign and domestic PC makers to ship the program. But the announcement also said China would continue seeking input on how to carry out the plan.

China says the program, called Green Dam Youth Escort, is meant to protect children from “harmful” information online. The program blocks pornography and other content, including some related to politically sensitive issues such as criticisms of a former president. Sites are also blocked if they reference Falun Gong, the spiritual movement banned as a cult in China.

Foreign industry groups and the U.S. government had protested the mandate over concerns including the program's security, free speech, user privacy and the software's alleged theft of code from a U.S. company.

But China pushed back its mandate only because PC makers said they needed more time to prepare and to distribute the software, not because of copyright infringement concerns, China Daily cited the official in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) as saying.

“The government will definitely carry on the directive on Green Dam,” the official said.

Chinese PC makers, including Lenovo Group Ltd., said they would still ship the program, according to the report. Lenovo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Foreign PC makers did not appear to relax when China pushed back the Green Dam requirement. A Hewlett-Packard Co. spokeswoman repeated an earlier comment that the company is seeking additional information. A Dell spokeswoman said the company supported China's goal of protecting children from online pornography and would work to educate customers about filtering software that has been thoroughly tested.

A spokesman at the MIIT declined to comment.

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