China To Reportedly Unblock Banned Sites

The Chinese government is set to unblock banned websites reportedly, such as Facebook and Twitter, in a planned free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, the state-run news agency said.

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Internet censorship no more

Citing unknown government insiders, the authorities would also welcome bids from foreign telecoms companies for licenses to offer Internet services in the area.

China’s ruling Communist Party aggressively censors the web, routinely erasing online postings, and blocking access to websites it seems politically insensitive or inappropriate.

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were banned by Beijing in mid-2009 after deadly riots in the western city of Xinjiang that authorities claim were supported by the websites.

On the other hand, The New York Times has been blocked since last year after reporting that the family of then-Premier Wen Jiabaohad collected a huge fortune.

Foreigners: At home feel

The concept of unblocking sites in the FTZ was to make foreigners “feel like at home,” the state-run news agency quoted a government insider as saying.

China’s three biggest telecoms firms, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, have been notified of the decision to allow competition in the FTZ.

The three state-run companies had not raised complaints because they knew the plan had been endorsed by the Chinese leadership.

 

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