Chinese island eyes oasis from web censorship for foreigners

June 22, 2018
Hainan, known as China's Hawaii thanks to its resorts and tropical beaches, hopes to attract more tourist dollars

China's Hainan island has proposed allowing foreign visitors access to censored websites such as YouTube and Facebook, a double standard that has raised cries of indignation from the country's internet users.

The province, known as China's Hawaii thanks to its resorts and tropical beaches, is set to become the country's largest free trade zone and hopes to attract increased investment in hi-tech industries, as well as more dollars.

Part of that effort includes making the island more hospitable to foreign tourists through such steps as instituting visa-free travel and making it easier to use foreign credit cards.

But authorities also want to take a more dramatic step: creating "foreign tourist gathering spots" where visitors can "normally use popular foreign social media sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube," according to a copy of the proposal posted earlier this month on the provincial government's official .

The sites, along with Google, Instagram and other popular services, are banned in mainland China as well as Hainan.

The country heavily censors its to prevent the spread of information deemed unflattering to the government or damaging to public morals.

The suggestion that foreign guests be given privileges that are denied to Chinese people themselves set off a firestorm of criticism on China's own social media websites.

Users of the popular microblog Weibo posted thousands of comments, most of which were quickly taken down.

"This is completely despicable, shameless and obscene reverse discrimination," one commenter raged.

"Resist discriminatory treatment!" shouted another, a remark that popped up in many of the responses to the post.

Chinese wanting to view the proposal will struggle to find it, after the Hainan government quickly removed the document from its website.

Explore further: Iran orders internet providers to block Telegram

Related Stories

Iran orders internet providers to block Telegram

April 30, 2018

Iranian authorities have ordered internet service providers to block access to Telegram, a popular messaging app used by an estimated 40 million Iranians, state TV reported Monday.

China fines tech firms over online content

September 26, 2017

China has fined several of the country's biggest technology firms for failing to remove illegal online content as the authorities intensify their policing of the internet.

China tightens online video controls, jolting investors

June 22, 2017

Three popular Chinese internet services have been ordered to stop streaming video after censors complained it contained improper comments on sensitive issues. The move prompted a sell-off in the U.S.-traded shares of Sina ...

Recommended for you

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.