Chinese authorities have lifted firewall controls on Facebook, Twitter, and other foreign social networks, but only in places like 5-star hotels frequented by international businessmen. Users reported that they could easily login to blocked websites while connected to lobby Wi-fi at high-scale hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, and other foreigner-heavy Chinese cities.
The South China Morning Post broke this story today in an exclusive, and reports:
One visitor to Beijing, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Post that he could easily use his mobile devices and laptop to access both Facebook and Twitter at the lobby of the St. Regis Beijing hotel and in his room during his stay in the hotel, which had often been the home to many US presidents during their visits to China. […]
“It’s not just St. Regis. A lot of my friends told me that they can also access Facebook and Twitter in many other five-star hotels in Beijing,” said the anonymous hotel visitor.
“This has even become an unspoken secret among many local Beijingners. If you want to get on Facebook and Twitter to post messages, especially to your friends who live abroad and use the two social media [sites] often, now you know where you should go in Beijing – go to those five-star hotels.”
Even in smaller cities like Dongguan, an economic boomtown in the Guangdong province near Hong Kong, five-star hotels like the Lotus Villas Hotel offer free wifi service to all visitors to the hotel, allowing them to visit Facebook and Twitter. Lotus Villas is a popular hotel for those attending business conferences in Dongguan, where many Hong Kong businessmen have significant investments.
First gigantic rooftop rock villas, now Facebook and Twitter; the rich really do get everything in China.