China is about to lift the ban on Facebook and Twitter within a limited region. It will allow the access of two social media sites in the free-trade zone of Shanghai.
China is to end the ban on many sites including the two giants, Facebook and Twitter. But this détente in online content is to take place within the jurisdiction of the free-trade zone of Shanghai. This area is a testing ground for further future liberalization on Mainland China. Just like Hong Kong, the free-trade zone too has its own culture and laws.
Besides, the foreign nationals who come to live within the free-trade zone have to be accommodated. If they get no access to important websites they may not feel very comfortable living there. The region will also be accessed by global telecommunications giants in an effort to provide Net services. This is the first time such a step is being taken.
South China Morning Post reports today that Government lifts ban "on condition of anonymity that the authority in charge of the Hong Kong-like free-trade zone in Shanghai, the first such zone on the mainland, would also welcome bids from foreign telecommunications companies for licences to provide internet services within the new special economic zone."
The reason behind the ban on Facebook and Twitter was that they subverted the Chinese Government’s policies. Already, due to the availability of Facebook and Twitter in the Arab World, the Arab Spring had occurred. China didn’t want such a thing to happen to the government’s hegemony at Beijing. China has been slowly evolving towards greater liberalization though.
Previously, it disabled its Great Firewall during the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2011 World Cup. This allowed social media free entry into the country. The websites that will be accessible in the free-trade zone will be Facebook, Twitter and The New York Times.