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 Computerworld.com.

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 sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Will our manners go the same way as texting when robotic servants take over?

Much of the talk in the industry is focused on the limited amount of time that screens have left in our lives.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Social purpose: Oxygen for your brand health vitals

If trust is the new currency, then we’re in deep trouble. Here's why.

Carolyn Butler-Madden

Founder and CEO, Sunday Lunch

Customer experience disruption: Healthcare faces a bitter pill

Over the past decade, disruptors such as Amazon, Apple and Australia’s Atlassian have delivered technology enhanced customer experiences, which for the most part, have improved customers’ lives and delivered unparalleled growth. Can they do the same for healthcare?

Alex Allwood

Principal, All Work Together

Thank you for sharing such an informative post about Yoga Mats.....At Gravolite we also offers Yoga Mats at very affordable prices. For m...

Yogamats India

APN confirms $500m bid for Adshel

Read more

The advancement of AI will make most of human jobs obsolete in the coming 10 to 20 years. Protecting or try to save jobs will make the h...

vallab01

Aussie futurist: Personal AI will be a reality in five years

Read more

are you talking about bbc news here

frank

CMO interview: How BBC Worldwide's marketing lead builds brand purpose and growth

Read more

Toms is definitely my favourite shoe brand! Along with Aurélien. For this summer I bought two pairs of navy Toms espadrilles and a pair o...

Paul Erickson

​The shoe with a good soul: TOMS’ innovations for philanthropic engagement

Read more

I think this is the best article today about the salesforce latest platform. Thanks for taking your own time to discuss this topic, I fee...

Ramramky

Salesforce looks to democratise AI, IoT with latest platform play

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in