China: Blue skies, temporary free internet in APEC honour

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Nov 06, 2014 20:36 IST

China has not only cleared the smog over Beijing for the high-profile Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting but as an apparent gesture of generosity towards it foreign guests, it has also temporarily lifted the ban on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter besides allowing access to Google and Gmail.

In all, Beijing is putting its best foot forward for the meeting that will see US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe gather in the city.

Of course, Chinese authorities have earlier lifted such bans at international conferences; in APEC’s case, it was evident, that free internet was only available at the media centre where Chinese and international media have gathered to cover the event.

The APEC summit started in Beijing on Thursday and runs through Tuesday. The top leaders' meetings are slated for Monday and Tuesday.

What is expected at APEC?

For one, an anti-corruption statement will be included in the concluding documents of APEC, Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, said at a press conference on Thursday.

Bollard said the idea was to establish a group “which could get the enforcement agencies together across the APEC region and allow them to pass on the information on particular cases with one another.”

Discussions will also be held on setting up of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), officials said.

Focus will be on streamlining connectivity development between the 21 member countries, economic reform and development rooted in innovation.

Broadly, officials said the major thrust areas of the summit will be on advancing regional economic integration and strengthening “comprehensive development in infrastructure and connectivity”.

But if its serious work for the leaders of 21 countries over the next few days, millions of residents from Beijing and its suburbs are getting a six-day holiday as the government shuts down the city to ensure pollution-free days and smooth traffic.

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