China has decided to unblock access to Facebook, Twitter and other websites including The New York Times within the Shanghai Free-trade Zone (FTZ), which were earlier blocked, according to the government authorities.
Citing unidentified sources, the South China Morning Post reported that the authority responsible of the free-trade zone in Shanghai is also considering proposals from overseas telecom firms for licences to offer internet services within the new zone.
One of the government sources said that in order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, the country has to consider about how to make them feel like at home.
"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 source said.
Social networking services including Facebook and Twitter had been banned in China since 2009, in the wake of riots in the western province of Xinjiang, which the government blamed on the social networking sites.