There will be unrestricted internet access throughout all of Beijing and Zhangjiakou during the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics if the cities are awarded the Games, Chinese officials have promised.
Many "politically sensitive" websites, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, have been banned in mainland China since 2009 as part of a wider censorship of information available on the internet, on the grounds they "violate national laws".
There are certain ways to circumnavigate the ban, with unrestricted internet access having been available during this week's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission visit, but only in certain locations and for selected people.
The ban was also lifted during both the Beijing 2008 Olympics and Paralympics and the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in venues and Games-areas only,
But, even then, there remained several restrictions.
But, rolling this out to the entire capital city, as well as the mountain venue cluster close to Zhangjiakou 190 kilometres to the north-west, would mark a major change, and a sign of how seriously the Chinese Government takes the Games.
It was promised to the IOC during a tour of media facilities during their visit, insidethegames has been told.
It will be available at all locations, it is claimed, such as "Starbucks and all hotels", to give full access to all spectators travelling to the Games.
This comes at the same time as the Government is tightening restrictions, with access to some Virtual Private Networks (VPN) having been restricted in January for "safety" reasons.
Wang Hui, the media and communications director of Beijing 2022, had promised during the IOC Evaluation Commission visit that "Beijing 2022 will be more open than Beijing 2008".
Engaging with the public via social media has become a central plank of the IOC's communications strategy.
During last year's Winter Olympics in Sochi the IOC's Facebook page grew by more than a million to nearly four million.
The Olympics had 6.5 million mentions on Twitter during that same period.
Although websites like microblogging site Sina Weibo are far more popular here, Beijing 2022 does have an official Twitter page, although it currently has less than 600 followers.
Officials have also promised much faster internet access in 2022, following some delays and problems in the past, including at Nanjing 2014, where access was sporadic in most media hotels and many venues.
This includes the use of several proposed mobile telecommunications units to increase access, insidethegames has been told.
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