China defends net filtering software amid outcry

June 11, 2009 15:00

Chinese state media on Thursday issued an unprecedented defense of newly required Internet filtering software that must be packaged with every computer sold in China starting next month, after a public outcry at home and abroad. Although the government says the software is aimed at blocking violence and pornography, users who have tried it say it prevents access to a wide range of topics, from discussions of homosexuality to images of comic book characters such as Garfield the cat. Chinese authorities rarely feel compelled to justify their tight controls on the world's largest population of Internet users. They are quick to block content challenging the ruling Communist Party's positions on democratic reforms, religious freedom and policies toward Tibet.

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