The Chinese government plans to lift a ban that would reportedly allow access to certain web sites. The announcement, which was reported in the South China Morning Post, stated that the government would lift bans on Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone.

The ban on Facebook and Twitter in Shanghai occurred in 2009, and the New York Times in 2012. However, many people use VPNs and proxy servers to bypass the Internet censorship program and some hotels even have VPNs set in place to access these sites. The Shanghai Free-Trade Zone was set up in July 2013 and serves as an experimental area for the Chinese government to test economic and financial reforms. This zone is 28.78 square kilometers and will reportedly include the Pudong district, which has a population of about 5 million people.

The announcement is an attempt to increase interest among foreign investors in the Free-Trade Zone and will also feature bids for licenses to provide Internet services in the area. Although the ban is being lifted in the Free-Trade Zone, it does not indicate China’s attitude toward Social Media. For now access is being granted to Facebook and Twitter only within the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone and could eventually extend to the Pudong district.