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Communication & Technology

Facebook and other banned sites to be accessible in China free trade zone


A man checks his iPad on the Bund in front of the financial district in Shanghai

A man checks his iPad on the Bund in front of the financial district in Shanghai

Facebook, Twitter and other websites deemed sensitive and blocked by the Chinese government will be accessible in a planned free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

Citing unidentified government sources, the Hong Kong newspaper also said authorities would welcome bids from foreign telecoms firms for licences to provide Internet services in the zone.

China’s ruling Communist Party aggressively censors the Internet, routinely deleting online postings and blocking access to websites it deems inappropriate or politically sensitive.

Facebook and Twitter were blocked by Beijing in mid-2009 following deadly riots in the western province of Xinjiang that authorities say were abetted by the social networking sites. The New York Times has been blocked since reporting last year that the family of then-Premier Wen Jiabao had amassed a huge fortune.

TEST BED

The recently approved Shanghai FTZ is slated to be a test bed for convertibility of China’s yuan currency and further liberalisation of interest rates, as well as reforms of foreign direct investment and taxation, the State Council, or cabinet, has said. The zone will be formally launched on September 29, the Securities Times reported earlier this month.

The idea of unblocking websites in the FTZ was to make foreigners “feel like at home”, the South China Morning Post quoted a government source as saying. “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 source said.

A spokesman for Facebook said the company had no comment on the newspaper report. No one at Twitter or the New York Times was immediately available to comment.

For Facebook, the world’s largest online social network, with 1.15 billion users, China represents an important new market for growth.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has studied Mandarin and visited China to meet with local Web entrepreneurs, has said that making Facebook available in China is in keeping with his company’s goal of connecting the world.

Earlier this month, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg met with the head of China’s State Council Information Office during a visit to Beijing. The pair discussed Facebook’s importance as Chinese enterprises continue to expand abroad “and various cooperation matters around that,” according to a post on the Council’s website.

Shares of Facebook were up more than 4 percent at $49.19 in trading on Tuesday, though some analysts attributed the gains to Citigroup upgrading its rating of Facebook’s stock from neutral to buy.

Twitter, which is preparing for an initial public offering, could also benefit by being available in China, the world’s largest Internet market by users. Still, many Chinese Web users already use similar services, such as Sina Corp‘s Weibo.

China’s three biggest telecoms companies – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – have been informed of the decision to allow foreign competition in the FTZ, the sources told the newspaper.

The three state-owned companies had not raised complaints because they knew the decision had been endorsed by Chinese leadership including Premier Li Keqiang, who has backed the Shanghai FTZ, the sources added.

Source: Reuters – “Facebook, other banned sites to be open in China free trade zone: report”
 
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About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

Discussion

One thought on “Facebook and other banned sites to be accessible in China free trade zone

  1. Reblogged this on Seeking Freedom.

    Like

    Posted by lordvito9 | September 29, 2013, 7:02 pm

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