State media

Everyone loves content filters, Xinhua says

Green Dam killer

The Green Dam-Youth Escort content filter, which all new computers sold in mainland China after July 1 are required to have pre-loaded, is controversial for a number of reasons.

Even setting aside concerns over privacy and free speech, the software is looking dodgier by the day.

  • Analysts at the University of Michigan found programming errors that "allow remote parties to execute arbitrary code and take control of the computer."
  • The software is supposed to automatically screen for nudity in images, but it seems to use skin tone as its key criterion, leading it to block Garfield as harmful but let Doraemon (as well as actual nudity) through with no problem.
  • And the fact that the government supposedly paid 41.7 million yuan for a year's use of the software has people wondering whether the deal was on the up-and-up.

Xinhua, whose front page has been featuring upbeat articles touting the need for Green Dam, has found a simple answer to all of these objections: a small segment of the media is responsible for all of the discontent.

People who actually use the product love it, says its latest opinion piece, which goes on to hail the government's handling of the Green Dam issue as a demonstration of its respect for "the public's democratic rights."

What is controversial about the filter software controversy?

by Yan Bingguang / Xinhua

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's requirement that all computers come pre-loaded with the Green Dam-Youth Escort Internet filtering software has garnered quite a bit of attention of late, and one interesting thing about it is that while support largely stems from end users, opposing opinions primarily come from a minority of media outlets and businesses.

Data demonstrating end-user support for the government's measure comes from two channels. One is a customer satisfaction survey carried out among the more than 2.6 million existing users of the Green Dam-Youth Escort software, the results of which showed "widespread satisfaction" with a measure that is "in the public interest." The second is feedback submitted via an online forum by 1,813 users, 92% of whom expressed their support, with more than 70% of users expressing satisfaction with the quality of the software and its technical support.

Consumers ultimately have final say over whether a mass-market consumer product is good or bad. The majority of users support the Green Dam-Youth Escort Internet filtering software, which at the very least demonstrates one thing: cleaning up the online environment is indeed a pressing problem for our country. Furthermore, compared to the needs of those people who voice opposing opinions, the need to protect the healthy growth of minors is far more important. Any opinion that brushes aside the youth element is biased.

In recent years, to ensure that minors are not affected by vulgar information online, all levels of the government have taken repeated steps to reign in the proliferation of Internet vulgarity, the most recent being the closure of 1,911 websites in flagrant violation of regulations during a month-long nationwide action. The promotion of this filtering software by the MIIT is just one more piece of the rectification effort. The question is not whether such measures are necessary, but how to make them more effective.

You may notice that the MIIT's measures are first met with skepticism, but after ministry spokespersons explain in detail, the skeptical voices gradually fade away. This says that public apprehension is largely due to a lack of understanding and trust. It reminds us that the when the government brings forth measures that concern the public interest, it must fully respect the public's democratic rights and act within the scope permitted by the law, while at the same time making a public explanation of the situation as soon as is possible, to answer any doubts the public may have. This is how to win the public's support.

The major questions that have been the focus of public opinion have been given clear answers by MIIT, which is sufficient to dispel public apprehension. As for problems that might crop up during use of the filtering software, and what improvements it may need, the best thing to do is to let that be found out in actual use.

Links and Sources
There are currently 10 Comments for Everyone loves content filters, Xinhua says.

Comments on Everyone loves content filters, Xinhua says

And now a constructive episode of international friendship, to truly build friendship between the East and the West.

China (CCP)..

Mark my words...

Go fuck yourself!

I imagine the whole affair will result in increased work for underemployed IT support staff. "Have you turned it on and off?" will no longer suffice.

The Internet will not be complete without some adult contents, which are unstoppable by whatever "Dam" or "Damn".

Great, now people hate Xinhua more.

Apparently the government has not recognized the seriousness of this shit, even in an authoritarian state you simply can't turn against the majority of the people. Unless they learn some PR skill immediately, they will continue to dig their grave.

I just don't get it, you are seriously telling me every computer comes pre-installed with this snitching software? What's stopping people from building there own PC? It's not hard to build a PC? Or are these things fused into the Intel on conception?

Scary, and also unconstitutional to any nations (remaining) civil liberties., I also guess it's nothing new. Thanks to my governmental/corportate agenda, I can look forward to more surveillance and ID cards with RFID. Stay in your homes, and our prisons, consumption is being standardized, nice!

还说,新华无羞耻之心, 您的议程是什么?

(All that) money spent on what seems to be a shanzai programme using outdated ripped-off code? pffft!!

That's a very useful, if slightly techie, report from Michigan Uni. But the summary says it all. Thank's very much for the link.

What I found amusing was Xinhua's assertation (in mid-week articles) that it had been tested successfully in schools. Yeah right!

I have this hilarious scenario of primary school kids trundling into yet another boring Computer Science lesson.

Teacher (solemnly) : Today you are going to perform an important task for the security of the Motherland and future generations of students.
Kids: .........YAWN
Teacher (solemnly) : You must search on the following keywords and report back on what you find.
Kids: .......YAWN

Teacher switches on projector to reveal keywords phonetically similar to*:

brow job - fork - posse - hard cook - can't -fallen gone - election(doubly bad!)- double fork - gran brang - Nepal’s etc…

Kids: .....WHEY-HEY!!

Seriously though, this place is so hypocritical.

I teach a few 12yr olds out of hours and there must be close to a dozen whore-houses slap in the middle of their residential area & all less than 100m (ATCF) from their primary school. WTF!!
The 'short-cut' that they use to school takes them directly past 5. (Yeah, I’ve counted)

Anyway - last Oct holiday a mob (not a phalanx or squad - but a mob) of chengguang, purposefully swept through the district resulting in the closure of... TA-DAAAAA!!!!!
4 noodle stalls.

The masageeee mingers are still there.
Isn't this China?

I hope to god that our ISP won't force a download post July.
but.... that ought to be a no-brainer really, what with millions of existing machines in the country?

* obviously in Mandarin - sorry if there's offence at my rendering of keywords but I don’t know enough Chinese to pun a-la “grass mud horse”
& as for characters ...... cao wo ! :-)

GFW + Five-cent Gang + Green Dam = ?

Putting aside whether or not this software just screens pornography I can see that despite the cry on many bbs, there's large parent groups who do support censorship of online content. I doubt they would support political censorship but they definitely would support censorship of porn and violent content.

Media Partners
Visit these sites for the latest China news
090609guardian2.png 090609CNN3.png
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.
Danwei Archives
Danwei Feeds
Via Feedsky rsschiclet2.png (on the mainland)
or Feedburner rsschiclet.gif (blocked in China)
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Main feed: Main posts (FB has top links)
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Top Links: Links from the top bar
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Danwei Jobs: Want ads
rsschiclet2.png rsschiclet.gif Danwei Digest: Updated daily, 19:30