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China loosens ban on Facebook

China has given Facebook and several other media companies a slight lift on the ban that kept them out of the country.
Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   Sept. 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM   |   Comments

Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The Chinese government Wednesday announced it has decided to lift a ban on foreign websites deemed politically sensitive.

The lift on the ban is not universal, though, and is only in effect within the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

The zone, a 17-square-mile-area in Shanghai, will be able to access Facebook, The New York Times, Twitter and more.

The free trade zone launches Sunday, and will serve as a testing ground for reforms within financial and service sectors. Should Beijing deem the experiment a success over the long run, some of the policies could be implemented in other parts of China.

Facebook and Twitter are among websites still blocked by the "Great Firewall of China," and attempts to access the sites result in an error message.

Chinese citizens have long been finding ways around the censors, though. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of Chinese secretly on Facebook grew from 8 million to 63 million. Twitter users jumped from 12 million to 35 million.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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