China lets down its Great Firewall for Twitter and Facebook

China is reportedly starting to open up, allowing access to previously banned sites and services so long as users are within a sanctioned free-trade zone in Shanghai.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

China's ban on foreign politically sensitive sites and services such as Facebook, Twitter. and The New York Times will be lifted for the first time within its Shanghai Free-trade Zone.

South China Morning Post reported that anonymous government sources have confirmed the decision, which has allegedly been made to encourage foreign companies and their employees to do more business with the country.

Beyond the free-trade zone, the ban on these sites will remain in place. No details on how this will be made technically possible are known as yet.

China only recently approved the free-trade zone, and it remains as a pilot for the nation. Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Shen Danyang previously told local media that the zone will require an adjustment of its laws and regulations, and it is currently being debated by the country's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

He said that the purpose of the zone would include improving the country's services industry, deepening reform, and opening up to foreign nations.

"I do not think it is necessary to worry about the negative influence it may have on trade and investment in Hong Kong," he said.

The zone has already given hope to those wishing to circumvent China's 12-year ban on foreign game consoles. Console manufacturers are now being allowed to sell their products if they are registered in the zone.

China's "Great Firewall" has been named as a trade barrier for the country by outsiders, and the nation has repeatedly missed out on new technology offerings, such as Google's cloud storage service.

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