Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
China Internet filter challenged in rights uproar
Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:36am EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese lawyer has demanded a public hearing to reconsider a government demand that all new personal computers carry Internet filtering software, adding to uproar over a plan critics say is ineffective and intrusive.
Li Fangping, a Beijing human rights advocate who often embraces controversial causes, has asked the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to allow hearings on the "lawfulness and reasonableness" of the demand, which takes effect from July 1 and was publicized only this week.
"This administrative action lacks a legal basis," Li wrote in a submission to the ministry that was sent to reporters by email on Thursday.
"Designating that the same software must be installed in all computers affects citizens' rights to choose."
Li's demand, and denunciations of the plan from Chinese rights groups, have expanded a public battle over the "Green Dam" filtering software, despite a state media effort to promote the software as a welcome way to prevent children being exposed to pornography.
Many citizens worry such software and other measures are being imposed to deter discussion of sensitive political topics, especially in this year of controversial anniversaries, Li told Reuters.
"Above all, we're concerned about freedom of speech and the right to know," he said. "We know that citizens have been prosecuted because of their private emails, and we're worried about more such cases."
Chinese human rights and gay advocacy groups have demanded the software plan be immediately quashed.
A statement from five groups sent by email said the software threatened to cripple access to many of the gay community websites that have flourished in recent years.
The software works by judging whether website pages may show large amounts of exposed flesh.
Wan Yanhai, a leader of the Beijing-based Aizhixing organization, which works on AIDS and gay rights, said he was preparing a mass petition to mobilize opposition to the software.
"We need to demand not just the lifting of this software decree, but also an end to restrictions on gay publications," Wan told Reuters. "This is about opposing censorship."
Chinese state media have promoted the compulsory installation plan as an effective way to staunch the flow of pornography, which is banned in China but widely available.
"If you have children or are expecting a child you could understand the concerns of the parents over unhealthy online content," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters on Tuesday.
State television news said the software can be shut off and erased if users choose, and does not collect personal information.
China is one of the world's fastest-growing PC markets, and has hundreds of millions of Internet users. Research firm Gartner forecasts total PC shipments will climb by about 3 percent this year to more than 42 million units. Continued...
View article on single page
Spanish stocks - Factors to watch on Thursday
Also on Reuters
College grads shun Wall Street for Washington
Retail landlords need a "reality check"
Full Coverage: Rise of the BRICs
More Technology News
Digital downloads spell end for videogame stores?
Microsoft will soon unveil free anti-virus software
Palm names Rubinstein CEO days after Pre launch
IT staff snooping on colleagues on rise: survey
Monitor leader TPV aims low with cheap "nettop" PCs
More Technology News...
China PC software raises e-fears
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
California nears financial "meltdown" as revs tumble
California nears financial "meltdown" as revenues tumble
Venezuela bans Coke Zero, cites "danger to health"
Canada frosts the most widespread in recent memory
Russia military says needs 1,500 warheads: report
Retail landlords need a "reality check"
Gunman kills guard at U.S. Holocaust Museum | Video
Actor Johnny Palermo dies in car accident
U.S. college grads shun Wall Street for Washington
Obama focus on coalitions may aid arms sales
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Shooting at U.S. Holocaust Museum
Female nursery worker in UK sex case
Pentagon releases Kunar blast video
No caps on executive pay -Treasury
Spector's mug shots.
Fiat closes Chrysler deal
Search field expanded in crash
Adam Lambert says he's gay
Business Update: Gloomy Fed
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
We want to hear from you
Join the Reuters Consumer Insight Panel and help us get to know you better
Please take a moment to complete our survey
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.