According to CNN, China has recently created a 17-square-mile “Free-Trade Zone,” where individuals will be able to access formerly blocked websites like Facebook and Twitter. The area is titled Shanghai Free-Trade Zone and will be launched this Sunday.
Prior to this lifted ban, China was known worldwide for blocking citizens and visitors from visiting foreign “politically-sensitive” websites due to a government censorship system known as the Great Firewall of China.
Purpose of the Zone
The new free zone is intended to test out financial and service sector reforms. If Beijing has reported success with the Free-Trade Zone, new policies may be implemented in a few other parts of China.
What does this mean for social media websites? This launch means that a new market has emerged as a way to continue growing the companies and continuing to expanding communication and connection globally. China makes up the largest market of Internet users, opening many doors for websites that will be opened in the zone that were formerly blocked.
Why Websites Were Blocked
Different websites are blocked for various reasons. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter were blocked in 2009, when deadly deadly revolts in a western province in Xinjiang were allegedly encouraged through social media. Additionally, the New York Times was blocked last year for reporting the fortune inheritance of Wen Jiabao’s family.