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

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. It’s really impressive.Click Here & Create Status and share with family

Sanwataram

Predictions: 14 digital marketing predictions for 2021

Read more

Nice!https://www.live-radio-onli...

OmiljeniRadio RadioStanice Uzi

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

Awesome and well written article. The examples and elements are good and valuable for all brand identity designs. Speaking of awesome, ch...

Ryota Miyagi

Why customer trust is more vital to brand survival than it's ever been

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in