In a surprising twist to the Green Dam software controversy, a direct letter was submitted on Friday to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asking the government to “reconsider implementing the Green Dam requirements”.
Signed by the heads of 22 international organizations, including the American Chamber of Commerce in China, the European-American Business Council, and the National Foreign Trade Council, the letter is a not often seen public confrontation of Chinese leadership.
One official noted the July 1 deadline was fast approaching: “Given the seriousness we attach to the myriad concerns involving the Green Dam mandate and with the deadline looming, we felt we needed to direct those concerns to the highest levels of the Chinese government.”
The Wall Street Journal got a look at the letter, which said in part:
“[Green Dam] raises serious concerns for us and seems to run counter to China’s important goal of becoming a vibrant and dynamic information-based society….The Green Dam mandate raises significant questions of security, privacy, system reliability, the free flow of information and user choice.”
There also appeared to be some kissing up:
“We applaud and respect your country’s determination to integrate into the global economy, and carve out its rightful place as an international technology leader.”
The letter, however, might actually make reversing Green Dam harder now, as no Chinese official wants to be viewed as allying with foreign companies against the government.
So far, the only large foreign PC-maker to publicly announce their compliance with the mandate is Taiwan’s Acer. But even as the clock strikes midnight on July 1st, we’re not expecting a giant Green Dam to come crashing down on PCs. We suspect China is still wrestling with issues over software legality and the even more pressing question of: how exactly do you enforce software installation?