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China’s Hainan To Permit Tourists to Bypass Censor; Allow use of Facebook, Twitter

Jun 22, 2018 by A. Alfaro
China’s Hainan To Permit Tourists to Bypass Censor; Allow use of Facebook, Twitter

South China’s Hainan Province plans to create special zones for foreign tourists with unrestricted access to US based social networking and content platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and others, which otherwise are blocked in Mainland China.

Currently, people in China use a virtual private network (VPN) to access these websites. It causes inconvenience to foreigners travelling to the country.

Earlier this year, the government started to crack down on a few local VPN services. It raised fears that the country could end up being completely blocked. But Hainan’s decision comes as a surprise for many.

People’s Government of Hainan Province has decided to rely on two major cities—Haikou and Sanya—to boost tourism and with a target to have 2 million international tourists by 2020. It plans to bring about 50,000 migrant workers with English language skills from Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam.

The government will come up with a set of guidelines to raise the island to international standards in the next three years.

Hainan Airlines, a key partner for this development, has committed to establish at least 70 direct flights between Hainan and other countries. Also, the current airport at Bo’ao will become an international airport. Haikou and Sanya are currently the only international airports in the island.

Hainan has gained importance in recent months. During the Bo’ao Economic Forum, president Xi Jinping declared that Hainan was to become a free trade zone and an international tourism and innovation center.

Ever since, Hainan has attracted many interesting projects in different fields such as lottery tickets, finance, sport fishing, golf, sailing, marathon, and surfing among others.

This ambitious plan is part of China's multi billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which will invest heavily on infrastructure all over the world.

A. Alfaro

A. Alfaro is a Beijing-based freelance reporter. He focuses on China's politics, culture and society. He can be reached at varofaro@gmail.com. 

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