I Hate the Great Firewall

Here’s just short note to tell you, Dear Reader, that the Great Firewall of China is fucking annoying. I am unable to access Twitter, Facebook, any Blogspot blog and often most of Google’s services including Gmail.

Meanwhile, the Chinese populace is so closely keyed in to what’s happening in the West that girls in remote Qingtian are wearing exactly the same ultrashort denim shorts as their contemporaries in Stockholm this spring. But I guess the Great Firewall is intended to keep domestic dissidents from reaching an audience as much as or more than to keep the Chinese from learning about the outside world.

Somebody mentioned subscription proxy services. That’s what I would buy if I settled here for any longer period…

Comments

  1. #1 Daniel Olsson
    May 30, 2011

    According to journalist James Fallows, VPN:s have become increasingly interfered with:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/05/three-sobering-notes-about-china/239461/

  2. #2 Joe
    May 30, 2011

    Please look into the onion routing network. You may not be able to access it while in China now, but when you are able to bypass the firewall, you can download the relatively small files onto a USB flash drive and use the encrypted, anonymizing proxy network on any computer with firefox browser. This negates the need for a subscription service to a proxy network, and enables significantly more secure communication.

  3. #3 Martin R
    May 30, 2011

    Will it work under Ubuntu linux? I can’t even download some of the files in the most recent update for Ubuntu from here in China.

  4. #4 Lassi Hippeläinen
    May 30, 2011

    Onion routing is a generic term. One implementation of the service is called Tor.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_%28anonymity_network%29

    In Firefox you can use the FoxyProxy add-on.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/foxyproxy-standard/

    (Disclaimer: I haven’t used any of the above…)

  5. #5 Martin
    May 30, 2011

    According to GreatFirewall.biz there are now more than 2400 websites and searches that are blocked in China.

  6. #6 Alan
    May 31, 2011

    The similarity of womens shorts in Qingtian and Stockholm may have more to do with where they are manafactured than access to the internet.
    I also have trouble classifying Qingtian as “remote” since it’s only about 10km from Wenzhou (pop ~1.5M), but that could be my Aussie bias.

  7. #7 Nomen Nescio
    May 31, 2011

    i have used TOR and FoxyProxy on Ubuntu Linux. it works, although i couldn’t say whether it works in China. don’t get the version of tor that’s bundled in Ubuntu (assuming one still is), take the effort to download from torproject.org’s package repositories and set up foxyproxy / torbutton manually in firefox.

  8. #8 Nomen Nescio
    May 31, 2011

    oh, and it needs be said: one significant backdraw of TOR is that it introduces serious latency and bandwidth limitations on your formerly speedy network connection. it’s very noticeable, even when just browsing the web. i recommend running an adblocker and javascript blocker, just so your browser won’t have to download as much over the horribly-slowed proxy chain.

    that said, TOR hidden services are every kind of geeky neat.

  9. #9 Birger Johansson
    June 1, 2011

    (OT) Midnight Sun eclipse in Norway; A rare nighttime partial solar eclipse will be visible from the northernmost parts of Scandinavia (unfortunately not from here).

    -It will also be visible from parts of northeast China (although there it will of course be daytime, Thursday morning, European Wednesday evening/night). The path of the lunar shadow is quite narrow, you have to be in just the right spot to see the event.

  10. #10 Birger Johansson
    June 1, 2011

    Addendum(OT): In two weeks, you can see a total *lunar* eclipse. People in China will see the moon eclipsed as it sets and the sun is about to rise over the opposite horizon, people in Europe will see the moon eclipsed as it rises and the sun has set in the opposite direction.

    Alas, it will not be visible from the Americas (North and South)

  11. #11 Josh
    June 3, 2011

    I am in China, I use a commercial VPN tool to get around the GFW. Check out Witopia, Astrill, StrongVPN, or 12VPN.

  12. #12 Nickel X
    June 6, 2011

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