China to lift block on Facebook and Twitter – but only in a small part of Shanghai

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Image: tengri555/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: tengri555/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Chinese Government is reportedly planning to lift the block on foreign websites it considers politically sensitive – like Facebook, Twitter and the New York Times – but only for those living within the proposed Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, according to anonymous government sources talking to the South China Morning Post.

Both Facebook and Twitter have been blocked from the country since 2009, while the New York Times was added to the list in 2012 after they published an article on the wealth of family members of former Premier Wen Jiabao.

Beijing’s move to lift the censors in this particular area is one part of a series of measures to push for more foreign investment in free-trade area, which will include the international airport and its ports.

In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home. If they can’t get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China,” the source told the South China Morning Post.

Another measure is to let foreign telecommunication companies to provide internet services in the free-trade area, a move that would introduce competition to the big three telcos China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – all state-owned enterprises. According to their source, the three “didn’t raise any complaints” because it was backed from the top Chinese leaders.

via SCMPQuartz

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