Facebook, banned in China since July 2009. (Photo/CFP)
China’s internet censors will lift their ban on Facebook during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing beginning this week, reports Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao.
If confirmed, this marks the first time China will loose its internet restrictions for a major international event . More than 20 world leaders, including US president Barack Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, will be attending the APEC leaders’ meeting on Nov. 10-11, with ministers and senior officials holding separate meetings in the four days prior.
It is understood that access restrictions to other websites belonging to Google and the BBC will also be lifted.
Popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been blocked in China since 2009, though enthusiasts have still been able to gain access by illegally jumping over the country’s “Great Firewall.”
Since the 18th National Congress in November 2012, Chinese leaders have stepped up internet censorship by clamping down on dissidents and rumormongers in an effort to “clean up” the web.
This year, popular Japan-based instant messaging app Line and internet photo-sharing platforms Flickr and Instagram have been added to the restricted list.