hackingbear writes "Beijing has made the landmark decision to lift a ban on internet access within the Shanghai Free-trade Zone to foreign websites considered politically sensitive by the Chinese government, including Facebook, Twitter and newspaper website The New York Times. The new free trade zone would also welcome bids from foreign telecommunications companies for licenses to provide internet services within the new special economic zone to compete with the state-owned China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom; the big three telcos didn't raise complaints as they knew it was a decision endorsed by top Chinese leaders including Premier Li Keqiang, who is keen to make the free-trade zone a key proving ground for significant financial and economic reforms, the sources added. The decision to lift the bans, for now, only applies to the Zone and not elsewhere in China. 'In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can 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,' said one of the government sources who declined to be named due to the highly sensitive nature of the matter."