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Scale the wall

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翻墙 (fān qiáng): scale the wall

Zola scales the wall. (High Tech Low Life)

Circumvent the Great Firewall of China.

The Internet as it exists within the Great Firewall is known as the Great Chinese LAN or the Chinternet. In effort to escape from these limitations into the expanses of the worldwide web, many Chinese use software such as VPNs to mask their IP addresses. However, authorities are constantly working to block the use of such software, making it increasingly difficult even for tech-savvy netizens to scale the wall. Freegate, the name of a popular censorship circumvention tool, has been blocked as a search term.

One user explains on Weibo why it has become necessary for netizens to scale the wall:

醉墨随风: Google is blocked, Yahoo is blocked and I can’t even find a server to get on foreign websites. Isn’t this what forces people to scale the wall!?


“Scale the wall” was listed among the Top 10 Neologisms of 2009 by the popular liberal newspaper Southern Metropolis Weekly. The term came into use at that time as China began to block big-name foreign websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The United States has funded programs to help Chinese netizens scale the wall.

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