China Dropping Facebook Ban—in Part of One City

Banned sites allowed in Shanghai free-trade zone

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 24, 2013 3:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – Chinese authorities hope the new Shanghai free-trade zone will cement the city's place as a financial center, in spite of a potential drag on worker productivity—the zone will be the only place in China where banned social media sites including Facebook and Twitter are allowed, sources tell the South China Morning Post. The country's state-owned telecom giants have been informed that foreign firms will be invited to bid for licenses to provide Internet services in the 11-square-mile zone.

"In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home," a government source says. "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 free-trade zone will include parts of the high-rise Pudong district.
The free-trade zone will include parts of the high-rise Pudong district.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Still no Facebook or Twitter for this Internet cafe user in Beijing.
Still no Facebook or Twitter for this Internet cafe user in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)
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