Tweeting news media complain about China's social media firewall

Several members of the press corps traveling with President Barack Obama in China took to Twitter to complain about the China's effective ban on social networking sites.

Fox News Senior White House correspondent Major Garrett, ABC News Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper and NBC News political director Chuck Todd all cited difficulties accessing the microblogging site this weekend while on the Chinese portion of the president's week-long trip to Asia.

Garrett said:

interesting. can tweet off b-berry, but laptop, which has net running, won't give me twitter or tweetdeck [a social networking software].

Tapper tweeted about similar problems, and added his thoughts on the ban:

i can access twitter on my bberry here in china, but not on my laptop. same with facebook. it's appalling, really. not for me - for Ch ppl

countries where ive seen actual censorship in terms of access to email and certain websites: in Viet Nam my emails were blocked...

@jtaylortowry twitter and facebook are blocked on my laptop.

Todd said:

Welcome to China! Both Twitter and Facebook are blocked here. Will do my best to update via other methods.

Internet censorship is quite common in China, which is ruled by a communist dictatorship. Speaking in Shanghai this morning, Obama called on China to loosen restrictions on the world wide web.

"I am a big believer in technology and I'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information," he said. "I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable."
 
"I'm a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions," he added. "So I'm a big supporter of not restricting Internet use, Internet access, other information technologies like Twitter."

Obama said during his appearance at the town hall that he does not personally tweet. The @whitehouse account, which is operated by the White House's new media staff, has provided updates from the president's swing through China.