China will open access to Facebook, Twitter and Google during the 2015 World Championships in Athletics, which kicks off in Beijing on Saturday.

The social networks and search engine will be accessible to users during the period, said the International Association of Athletics Federations’s general secretary Essar Gabriel at a press conference on Thursday, reported Sputnik.

The 2015 World Championships in Athletics will be held from at the Chinese capital’s National Stadium, also known as the “Bird’s Nest,” from August 22-30. More than 2,000 athlete from 207 countries will be attending what will be the largest sporting event to be held at the stadium since the 2008 Olympics.

China censorship security
China censors its internet. Photo: Creative Commons.

Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in China since 2009. The ban came into place near the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. They were allegedly blocked for being used as communication tools in coordinating the Urumqi protests that year.

More than 2,700 websites have been blocked in mainland China, according to Chinese Internet monitoring site

Xi Jinping, president of China, will officially open the championships on Saturday evening.

Earlier, instant messaging system Telegram was blocked in China following a massive cyber attack against its Asia-Pacific operations. In a People’s Daily article, the Berlin-based messenger was singled out for aiding Chinese human rights lawyers, who have become the target of an “unprecedented” nationwide crackdown.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.