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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Can marketers trust agencies again?

Unless you’ve been marketing under a rock, you’ll probably have questioned whether your media agencies are offering you transparency.

Nic Halley

Founder and managing director, Mindbox

Nice post Brad! very useful information. The retail stores are really mean for every brand I am agree with you. Now Online Service Market...

Srialto

The rise of online retail marketplaces and what they mean for brands

Read more

Minor correct Nadia, just wanted to clarify that the "Marketo consultants" that did this work, were actually Hoosh consultants

Fab Capodicasa

What it's taking for Edible Blooms to grow a stronger personalisation strategy

Read more

Im not surprise though, been in the industry for couple of years and I feel and see it with my tow eyes how eCommerce platforms innovated...

Jason Smith

Australia Post earmarks $20m for Australian ecommerce innovation investment

Read more

For marketers that are "going Agile" I recommend using Ravetree. It's a really powerful suite of tools for Agile project management, reso...

Janice Morgan

7 ways to run your marketing department like a software startup

Read more

Over the years very part of our lives has become technological. That’s why I am not surprised to see that Australian home loans are going...

GreatDayTo

Why Aussie Home Loans is embracing digital transformation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in