Trump vs ‘Great Firewall’: Will US President Be Able to Tweet During China Trip?
AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez MonsivaisWorld12:39 08.11.2017(updated 12:45 08.11.2017) Get short URL150
US President Donald Trump’s obsession to share his thoughts with the world via Twitter will be put to the test as he arrives for his first visit to China where the social media platform is blocked.
Trump has been actively using his favorite 140-character (actually, it is already 280-character) communications tool thoughtout his ongoing trip to Asia, including while in Japan and South Korea, but China has the so-called “Great Firewall” of online censorship, blocking domestic users not only from Twitter but Facebook and Google as well.
Foreigners in China may try their luck at accessing their favorite social media platform via roaming services that connect to their cellular networks.
The question is how Trump will deal with the restrictions while on his three-day stay in China.
Asked whether Trump would be able to tweet, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang told journalists, “How President Trump communicates with the outside world is something you need not worry about.”
In fact, Trump should be able to use roaming but “it depends on the policy of the [Chinese] government. If they choose not to allow you to (use roaming) then they can do it,” James Gong, a Chinese cyber law expert at Herbert Smith Freehills law firm, told AFP.
“But if you’re the president you should be able to do it. Donald Trump cannot live without Twitter,” he added.
This option, however, raises security and privacy concerns since mobile devices on roaming in China still rely on local telecom infrastructure.
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Securing the president’s communications in China requires sophisticated equipment and the coordinated work of hundreds of personnel in different parts of the world, but multiple sources familiar with the procedures confirmed to AFP that Trump will be able to tweet.
As an option, Trump could use an alternative mobile phone to avoid the risk of compromising his communications – and tweets – in China.