From The Washington Post (link):
A decade ago, China blocked access to three overseas Web sites — two pro-democracy sites and one devoted to Maoist ideals the government had abandoned in favor of capitalism, according to Michael Robinson, an American computer engineer who helped connect China to the Internet. Today, studies show thousands of Web sites are blocked.
But even as the list of banned sites has grown, accessing them is getting easier.
Savvy Internet users have always been able to slip past the government’s firewall by adjusting their browsers to detour data through computer servers that aren’t blocked. But the process is difficult for many users, and it is unreliable because the government eventually identifies and blocks the servers.
Over the past two years, though, the technical advantage has shifted against the government because of two free programs, Freegate and UltraSurf, produced by Chinese emigres in the United States who are members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.