Students at the University of Macau will continue to be able to access Facebook and Twitter unencumbered by the Great Firewall, even though the institution is moving its campus to the Chinese mainland.
The New York Times reports:
Students, most of whom will be from Macau, will gain access to the new campus via an underwater tunnel without the usual immigration checks. Concrete barriers will cut it off from the rest of China. The setup is one reason the campus will have its own fire and police stations.
It will also have an online hookup — including 3,800 WiFi hotspots — exempt from the restrictions commonly known as the Great Firewall of China.
“As the new campus will be under the jurisdiction of Macau, Internet and telecommunications services will continue to be provided by Macau providers,” said Wei Zhao, the University of Macau’s rector. “What students can access in the current campus will be accessible in the new campus, YouTube and Facebook included,” he said, referring to two popular Web sites blocked on the mainland.
Construction of the new campus, which involved moving 650,000 books and about 60 laboratories, not to mention 10,000 staff and faculty, will cost an estimated 9.8 billion Macau patacas (7.5 billion yuan), to be paid by the Macau government, which also coughed up 1.2 billion patacas (922 million yuan) for a 40 year lease of the land in Guangdong.
This is not the first time places in mainland China have been exempted from the country’s internet restrictions. Fortune Global attendees in Chengdu were able to access Twitter and Youtube, event organisers even started a special hashtag for them to use.
[Image credit: University of Macau]