09/24/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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Beijing "frees up" internet . But only for foreigners and only in Shanghai

The central government lifts censorship on "sensitive" websites such as Facebook , Twitter and the New York Times. The decision , however, concerns only the Free Trade Zone of Shanghai, the first in the country. The international telecommunications companies will be able to compete with those for national calls and offer connections to the Net

Beijing ( AsiaNews ) - The Chinese central government has decided to lift its ban on some websites deemed "sensitive ." The decision , however, concerns only the Free Trade Zone of Shanghai, established by the new Communist leadership.  There foreigners will be allowed access to Facebook, Twitter , New York Times and other sites that are obscured in the rest of China . The confirmation comes from the South China Morning Post , who spoke with some senior government officials .

The anonymous sources add that the authorities of the metropolis will allow international telecommunication companies to enter the domestic market and provide access to the Internet and telephone calls for residents. The three largest Chinese companies in the industry - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom (all state-owned ) - have already been informed of the decision and will not complain, since this comes straight from the Politburo.

An official explains: "To give the best possible welcome to foreign companies who want to invest here, and allow foreigners to live and work in a happy way within the special area , we have to make them feel at home. If they can not access Facebook or read the New York Times, they might wonder what's so special here with us".  In any case, this opening "will be limited to here."

The Free Trade Zone was launched last August by the State Council of China. A total of 29 square kilometers, the area includes the new ​​Pudong zone, the port of Yangshan and the area along the international airport. The government hopes that by eliminating duties on import -export and liberalizing the communications to attract foreign capital oriented towards South -East Asia.

And Hong Kong and Taiwan could pay the price. The first has always been considered the "entry point" for foreign capital for the Chinese market: its stock exchange , its greater freedom and the rule of law effectively make ​​the Territory one of the best places in the world to do business . The second has just signed a free trade agreement - at reduced fees - with mainland China in order to attract investors to use Taipei as an entry point for China.

 

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