China may partially unblock Facebook, Twitter

But censorship lift may be limited to Shanghai free-trade zone

The Chinese government may be about to ease up on its policy of censoring its citizens.

The South China Morning Post reported today that websites considered "politically sensitive," such as Facebook, Twitter and The New York Times, will be unblocked in one area of Shanghai.

The government, according to the report, is lifting the Internet access ban in Shanghai's free-trade zone and is set to accept bids from foreign telecommunications companies for licenses that would allow them to provide Internet services within the special economic zone.

"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," said an unnamed source in the Post report. "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 report points out that the easing of the ban only pertains to Shanghai's free-trade zone and will not apply to any other part of China.

What's been known as the Great Firewall of China could be crumbling a bit under economic and worldwide pressure.

"It's certainly a start" said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. "I think this move is initially for foreigners to have access to sites they might want when traveling to China. It is the free-trade zone, so it looks like China is applying that to Internet services as well."

He added that he expects to see China lift its Internet access ban in parts of other cities but that it's likely to be a long, slow process.

Google has had a long and well-publicized battle with the Chinese government for several years.

Early in 2010, Google announced that a major attack launched against its network from China had forced the company to pull its business out of the country. After the attack, which was aimed at exposing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, Google reconsidered its willingness to agree to censor search results of users in China.

This article, China may partially unblock Facebook, Twitter, was originally published at

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is

See more by Sharon Gaudin on

Read more about gov't legislation/regulation in Computerworld's Gov't Legislation/Regulation Topic Center.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Un-complicating multi-channel marketing: 5 actionable steps

There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.

Aaron Agius

Co-founder and managing director, Louder Online

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...


Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...

CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in