A tiny crack could be forming in the Great Firewall that blocks China’s internet users from politically sensitive websites. According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese authorities are to lift a longtime ban on Facebook and Twitter. However, access to the social media sites will only be granted within the confines of Shanghai’s free-trade zone — a mere 28 sq-km out of mainland China’s vast 9.3 million sq-km area.
Party apparatchiks may also allow access to the New York Times. An anonymous official told the Post that the idea is to reassure foreign investors that Shanghai’s free-trade zone was operating under a more visitor-friendly set of rules.
“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 official said. Soothed by a stream of tweets and likes, however, investors may give the spigot of foreign investment pouring into the region one more turn.
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