Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
New Chinese trade zone will allow banned websites
Possible breakthrough in Chinese internet censorship
The Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone will open officially on September 29 (picture: AFP)
- AFP, Hong Kong
- September 25, 2013
China's first free trade zone will allow access to Facebook, Twitter and other websites banned nationwide, in a rare exception to strict Internet controls, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Tuesday.
The Shanghai free trade zone, approved in August to boost competitiveness, will also lift a 2012 block on The New York Times, the South China Morning Post said, citing unnamed government sources.
"In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home," it quoted a source as saying.
"If they can't get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China."
The zone, set in China's commercial capital, would also allow foreign telecommunications firms to compete against state-owned counterparts in bidding for licenses, the Post said.
China's censorship authorities tightly control online content for fear of political or social unrest that could challenge the ruling Communist Party's grip on power.
Authorities in recent years banned the popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter, which were instrumental in the wave of uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa from late 2010 in what became known as the Arab Spring.
Last year authorities blocked The New York Times after it cited financial records showing relatives of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion -- a report Chinabranded a smear.
In recent months authorities have ramped up already strict censoring of domestic social media sites such as the popular microblog service Sina Weibo.
They have detained hundreds of people for spreading "rumours" online, and warned high-profile bloggers with millions of followers to post more positive comments.
The Supreme Court said this month that Internet users could face three years in jail if "slanderous" information spread online is viewed more than 5,000 times or forwarded more than 500 times.
The Shanghai free trade zone was approved by the State Council, or China's cabinet, to try to establish a true international trade and finance centre, and push reforms of the world's second largest economy.
A draft plan seen by AFP showed that the zone will remove controls on China's yuan currency -- a key obstacle in Shanghai's ability to compete with global hubs such as Hong Kong, London and New York. AFP