China and the Internet: Tricks to Beat the Online Censor

Guardian gives a run-down of the various methods people in China use to get around the Great Firewall:

The biggest challenge for someone inside China who wants to get around the Great Firewall is the teleological one: how do you search for information that is itself banned? Of necessity – because the Chinese government monitors internet use inside the country, and the data passing across the fibre-optic cables at three points where it goes international – such knowledge tends to spread by word of mouth.

For those who want to know what’s not accessible inside China, there’s, which shows the present status of various sites and services. Sometimes whole sites vanish. “One day the site addresses just don’t resolve,” as a former Microsoft employee explained this week. “And the next day they do.” Today, the site suggests that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitpic and Wikileaks are blocked; the BBC and Wikipedia are “partially blocked”; but Google News and Gmail are, at the moment, available.

Here are some of the ways Chinese surfers negotiate this online minefield:

CDT also recommends that readers inside the Great Firewall click on this link and create a Psiphon account to access CDT and other blocked sites. If you provide your email, you will be notified of an alternate URL once the current one is blocked.

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