Just when I thought that we could be back on track for site updates, we soon found out that the next virtual barrier that we need to solve is the Great Firewall of China. 

It was about a week before Beijing Olympics 2008, when our trusted VPN connection (working since Nov 07) to the free world suddenly failed to work. Initially we thought that this was due to the bad traffic caused by the thousands of foreign journalists in China, and the huge bandwidth that was used to broadcast the live events around the globe. Another possibility is a special “clamp down” session by the local authorities in preparation of the millions of foreign visitors who might be using VPN to visit overseas websites. We cannot be sure about the reason, but we were sure darn pissed by the connection.

While the commonly banned sites remained banned (e.g. politically sensitive sites), the browser will show as “no data…” right away. However, many websites became excessively slow… even though they do not have “illegal contents. You will know how “bad” when I say that even domain registrars could be in the list.

Some suggested that this could be due to bad points along the network route, but after testing out several sites, we were quite convinced that it is unlikely. In any case, these “bad points” we found also belong to China Telecom.

So if you are just about to visit China and thought that the VPN package that you just signed up would help, we are afraid]]> that you might be in for a bad surprise. Just a hint, currently strongvpn.com and gotrusted.com doesn’t work for me.

So how did we manage to sneak out and post on the site Now? As I type, I am currently sitting in my room somewhere near Shanghai. Even the mightiest wall has a gap, we just need to find it and find the way to go through that gap. And even a mousehole will do, you don’t need to pay for the expensive red carpet doorway that will be so obvious to the authorities. While I am not going to teach anyone how to do that here, all I can say is that seek and ye shall find.

As for the China authorities, all I have to say is this:

1) Let the expats have the privilege of freedom they are entitled to. We bring in our service and money to make you richer.
2) Don’t block blindly please… only if it matters to your national security which makes some sense. There are so many sites that can hardly hurt an island, and yet China (big brother) is so afraid of a small rat.
3) Anyway, most of your people here still don’t know any other languages than Chinese. Those who are fluent in English have probably left to work overseas.
4) Getting to host the Olympics is only the beginning. You hardly make a move towards modernisation with such blatant shutting off from the outside world. Grow up.
5) Even the Berlin Wall disappears. The real Great Wall of China (I mean the real one north of Beijing) has become a monument rather than serve its intended purpose these days. History has proven that these wall will be useless.

Damn, I can’t wait to get out of this virtual prison.