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Censorship

Taking My Freedom With Me to China? 1392

Posted by Cliff
from the censor-me-not dept.
Solo Han asks: "I'm considering a move to China next year, and while I have just as many problems as y'all do with the government, I still like the freedoms afforded me, especially when it comes to access of information. Chinese citizens, however, do not have the same freedoms, as we are constantly reminded here on slash-o-dot. Pr0n, mp3z, and games aside, what are the things that those of you in the Celestial Kingdom know you cannot access, and specifically, what are the websites, search engines, news sites, and other sites that are classed as potentially 'dangerous' material? This brings me to my overall question: is the censorship that real, that hard to get around, and how do you do it? What methods and technologies are you aware of or use to circumvent the Great Firewall of China?"
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Taking My Freedom With Me to China?

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  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by rackhamh (217889) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:01PM (#11496317)
    Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

    Does that answer your question?
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:06PM (#11496409)
      I visited and found I had internet access to everything I needed. However, I had VPN access so there is a good chance I might have simply missed something completely because I was using my US server.(Because RDP is much less latency sensitive so the Terminal Server connection was faster for surfing US websites than a typical browser)

      Regardless, I found the place to be a blast, but I have to admit you do tend to stay on you best behavior because you constantly bump into police with very large automatic weapons.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Stargoat (658863) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:47PM (#11497782) Journal
        I just came back from China. Internet sucks, particularly outside of Beijing and Shanghai. Daily access to life, such as going where you want to go is not bad, until you run into government officials. The communists will make your life hell. Simple things, like sending knives through the mail, are impossible to do. If they come to your house, even though you legally bought it, that butcher knife you use to cut your meat is illegal.

        Basically, if they want to get you, they will find something to get you. Behave yourself. Not for your sake, but for that of your friends and any relatives you may have. If you are ABC (and you know what that means if you are), this goes double. What they might not do to whites, they will do to ABC.

        Be prepared to stand in line for any government business. Also, any privacy you think you might be entitled to at a bank is non-existent. If you are white, you may complain about hospitality and get a little bit of space. If you are ABC, fugetabotit.

        You'll lose 25 pounds in two weeks. Be prepared for that. You'll probably also catch a cold your first week there.

        Speaking of cold, everyone wears a jacket all the time. It's a cold winter over there right now. Expect to be cold most of the time. Thick blue jeans from Walmart or Farm & Fleet are a good idea. So is long underwear. It sounds stupid. It's not. I wished I had brought some, and I spend my winters outside working without any.

        Fly straight through. Immigration is a pain, and two hundred dollars for tickets on United as opposed to China Eastern with a stop over is worth it. It'll be some of the best money you'll ever spend. Also, your luggage will probably break sometime between leaving home and getting back home.

        Watch your wallet, especially in the train station. I was there for not too long, and I had four people try to pick my pocket. Also, Beijing and Shanghai are not China. If you are going some place like Dailong, or Kaifung, life will be different.

        Take amoxillician. The Chinese are very proud of Chinese herbal medicine. Proud to the point of insisting on feeding it to you until you require immediate hospitization.

        Be safe while over there. Pocket knives are a good idea. If you bring US dollars, right now, you can live like a king on a beer budget. But that is not going to last longer than the year. China's going to be changing the way it pegs the RMB soon.

        Have fun and good luck. If you need more, check out my journal or leave me a note there. China can get depressing, so keep a smile on your face. That'll cure most ills.

    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Funny)

      by rackhamh (217889)
      Off-topic? You must be joking. Okay, maybe you're not, so let me run it down for you...

      We're talking about censorship.

      I clicked on the article and got the message, "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along" -- which, if you have half a brain, you know is a phrase commonly used when people are trying to hide or cover up something.

      Therefore perfectly relevant and (IMO, though others may disagree), kind of humorous.

      Honestly, didn't you have a better use for those moderator points?
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by uncleFester (29998) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @08:30PM (#11498878) Homepage Journal
      interesting timing [yahoo.com], no?

      -'fester
  • R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:01PM (#11496318) Homepage
    What methods and technologies are you aware of or use to circumvent the Great Firewall of China?

    Somehow I don't think it's wise to do such circumvention if you want to stay there short-term/long-term/permanently.

    What would US officials think if a foreigner, who is planning to move to USA, talks about how stupid the whole security thing is, and asks for advice to get around it?

    If USA can attack another country "Just Like That"(tm), I would consider Chinese's censorship a godsend given it's only imposed within its own country. If you decided to move there, respect its laws; if you don't agree with its laws, go somewhere else. You always have a choice.

    At home I have unlimited access to the internet, but at work I can only access port 80, and I would never try to get around company's security policy because it's restricting my freedom to surf, although others might still try that.

    And remember, when you get caught, it's going to be ugly no matter where you are.

    So in my opinion, if you want to go into other's territory, make sure you find out what can and cannot be done there, and stick to the rules.
    • by damian cosmas (853143) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:11PM (#11496490)
      "Somehow I don't think it's wise to do such circumvention if you want to stay there short-term/long-term/permanently."

      Actually, that seems like one of the easiest ways to stay there permanently.
    • Somehow I don't think it's wise to do such circumvention if you want to stay there short-term/long-term/permanently.

      Then again, that might be just the way to stay there long-term/permanently.
    • Re:R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by utlemming (654269) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:14PM (#11496543) Homepage
      Somehow I don't think it's wise to do such circumvention if you want to stay there short-term/long-term/permanently.
      If you engage in that sort of thing, then you are pretty much accepting that sort of relationship. The question is whether your deported immediately, held for a time, then deported, or put in prision for a long-time.

      What I think people need to get past is the idea that their political culture and ideas are both acceptable and compatiable with other cultures. The United States and other western countries all have very incompatable world views when it comes countries like China. The only reason that the United States and China can get along is due to the trade relationship.

      There is only one place in China that you enjoy the freedoms that your looking for -- Hong Kong. When China assumed ownership of Hong Kong there were fears that the financial strength of the former British colony would suffer. Hong Kong was granted certain freedoms that the rest of China does not enjoy.

      However, when traveling to another country you must RESPECT that country. You are a guest, just as your a guest in someone's home. Failure to obey the rules of that country is rude, inconsiderate and frankly, you deserve whatever punishment is given for violations. It is arrogent to assume that you have the same rights and priveleages that you enjoy here in another country. Further, if you really want to enjoy such privelages, then stay. Part of leaving for that job is the cost of losing some of your freedoms. And just because your a citizen of XXXXXX doesn't mean that your country will bail you out in the event of a problem.

      • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:34PM (#11496847)
        "The United States and other western countries all have very incompatable world views when it comes countries like China."

        Freedom is not an incompatable world view.

        Democracy is not an incompatable world view.

        Human rights are not an incompatable world view.

        Equality under the law is not an incompatable world view.

        All of these are basic rights for all human beings. The fact that the Communist government of China has refused to recognize them is not due to "an incompatable world view," its due to a small nomenklatura of Communist elites denying these rights to their people. The ideas themselves are no more alien to China than they were alien to Japan in 1945.

        - Crow T. Trollbot

        • by DrSkwid (118965) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:42PM (#11496959) Homepage Journal

          The only right you are born with is death.
        • by Bake (2609) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:45PM (#11496988) Homepage
          Here's something I've been wondering for the past few years.

          When on earth will people learn that no matter HOW GOOD your intensions are; the only thing that simply CAN NOT be stuffed down people's throat, is freedom and the concept of freedom.

          You can not force people to be free, they can only be free if they really want to be free.
          • by Caseyscrib (728790) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @09:06PM (#11499237)
            When on earth will people learn that no matter HOW GOOD your intensions are; the only thing that simply CAN NOT be stuffed down people's throat, is freedom and the concept of freedom.

            Yup. One of the underlying conflicts in many of the wars (ancient Athens, WWI/WWII, Iraq, etc...) fought by civilizations was hubris. People become so patriotic that they think their country is superior to everyone else's. Some leaders have even used this arrogance to justify wars. They believe war is "good" because it tests the true strength of a civilization, and the best culture will overtake the weaker one (social darwinism). In their mind, you're doing the enemy a favor by giving them freedom, communism, or whatever. What these people fail to realize, however, is that the only reason you think you're way is better is because thats the way you were raised; to believe everything you were taught was correct and any other way is wrong or inferior. Americans like their freedom, Iraqis like their dictatorship, and Chinese like their Communism. I'm not saying they're thrilled to be told what to do, but they are complacent because they are ignorant of alternatives. If the people become oppressed enough, they will start their own revolution. If another country tries to impose their culture on them, they will become patriotic to their own government (free or not) because of propoganda their leaders tell them.

            You can not force people to be free, they can only be free if they really want to be free.

            While education and the decline of religious influence have helped dwarf rascism and taught tolerance, we're still in Iraq right now because of the same egotistical "we're the big bad fuckin USA" attitude ("Bring It On"). One day, I hope people will understand that it doesn't matter if your an American, Canadian, French, Iraqi, whatever - you're still a human being. What geographical area or political climate you were raised in will never change that.

        • by Ioldanach (88584) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:21PM (#11497461)
          In the US we take these as a given. I've encountered people where I work that are from other countries that truly do not comprehend the value of freedom and democracy. I'll grant the latter 2, human rights and equal application of the law.

          However, while I may grant that everyone understands there are basic human rights, the definitions of those rights are cultural, and therefore the point there is moot. The mere existence of human rights cannot be the basis of an argument that another country doesn't have them. You can merely say they don't share our assumption of basic human rights.

          As far as equal application of the law, I'll grant that pretty much every culture expects this, it just happens that there are always a few at high levels who can circumvent it, and it falls to the culture to police this. So I don't think the chinese people as a whole have this problem, though the government certainly does.

          Now we get to freedom and democracy. You and I take as a given our freedom and the democracy. (ok, this country has an elected republic, not a democracy, but the word will do for now) However, in other cultures, the need for cultural and societal stability outweighs many personal freedoms. From everything I've seen, the culture of China rejects personal freedoms along these lines, though the government does indeed go too far in my opinion in enforcing this mindset.

          Simply put, you're making assertions that require serious work to defend, and you have to understand the cultural background of the people you need to defend your assertions against.

          Can you truly express why your first two assertions are accurate, and justify them to a culture not founded on them?

          • by bheading (467684) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:55PM (#11497860)
            In the US we take these as a given. I've encountered people where I work that are from other countries that truly do not comprehend the value of freedom and democracy

            Actually in the US you don't take these as given, and I've encountered plenty of Americans who do not comprehend the value of freedom and democracy. These are the Americans who voted for Bush, who can't see the problems with the Patriot Act or the war on Iraq, and who really believe that the Department of Homeland Security and it's powers are there to make them safer by taking away their freedoms and regulating their liberty. These are people who ignored the founding fathers who made their famous comments about the perils of trading freedom for security. Don't get me wrong, I think the USA is a great country with many great people, But I'm afraid that a majority of those who voted there are under the misapprehension that what their government is doing and the way their country is run constitutes a free society.
            • by gblues (90260) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:51PM (#11498531)
              Don't get me wrong, I think the USA is a great country with many great people, But I'm afraid that a majority of those who voted there are under the misapprehension that what their government is doing and the way their country is run constitutes a free society.

              (emphasis mine)

              I'm assuming you are not a United States citizen based on your choice of words here. Civics 101: laws are drafted and then passed around the Senate and the House of Representatives. Only after both groups have approved the bill does it get sent to the President to be signed into law. This means that the PATRIOT act did not pass due to GWB. The PATRIOT act passed because a majority in the House and Senate thought it was a good idea, and the President agreed.

              It would seem that I understand my freedoms and democracy better than you. Oh, and I voted for Bush, too. I guess I shouldn't exist according to your logic.

              • by Dire Bonobo (812883) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @09:11PM (#11499271)
                > It would seem that I understand my freedoms and democracy better than you.
                > Oh, and I voted for Bush, too. I guess I shouldn't exist according to your logic.

                Not at all; he simply disagrees with you. You believe you understand your freedoms better than he does; he believes you don't have as many freedoms as you think.

                Whether you understand the creation of a law doesn't really determine whether you understand its effect.

        • by Rei (128717) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:28PM (#11497546) Homepage
          This may be a strange concept to you, but for many people in the world, freedom and democracy are not their top priorities. Often, security and prosperity trump it.

          I have a friend from Peru; I've talked with her a fair bit about what it was like growing up; she mentioned that her favorite leader was Fujimori.

          When I tell this to Americans who know anything about Peruvian politics, they seem shocked. "He was a dictator!". "Paramilitary forces killed 25 people under his orders, and Peru wants him extradited for trial!". Etc. They wonder why a person who lived in Peru could possibly have liked him.

          However, things in Peru really improved when he was in charge, in her view. From here on, I'm going to cite from memory of what she's told me, so (note to the people of Peru:) if I make any errors, pleae correct me.

          Before he took over, rebel groups used to roam the countryside and force people into serving for them; she referred to them as terrorists. Fujimori, through a strict military crackdown, hunted them down and basically drove them out of existance. They used to escape to the college campuses; colleges used to be "no-go zones" for the military; he ignored this, and pursued them into the colleges (causing some riots, which they put down). Several rebel captives were publicly displayed as an example. While a repressive means was used, a group that used to pretty much terrorize many people in the countryside was pretty much driven out of existance. As she grew up in a small town in the countryside, this was important to her.

          Then there's the drug lords. The drug lords used to call "strikes" if there were policies that they didn't like. What a strike means is that if you go to work when they've called one, they'll have you shot. They tried this when Fujimori was in power. He took the military and brought it into the cities, and appeared on television downtown, out in the open, daring them to shoot him. He then had the military transport anyone who was afraid to travel to work in armored vehicles. Some people were mad at him for bringing the military into the cities... but the strike did fail as a result.

          Then there was the corruption. Before Fujimori, there were a lot of government-aided monopolies, and a lot of kickbacks. Not only did this result in public money going to help enrich those who were already rich (and private money going to keep those people in power), but it directly impacted many people. For example, products were often "bundled" with less popular products; you might not be able to get some item that you need without having to buy a bar of soap with it, or whatnot (so everyone would end up with way too much soap). Since there were no competing companies for many products, people didn't have a choice.

          Etc. In short, she was glad to trade some freedoms that she didn't personally care much about for safety and prosperity. I know the quote... but in this case, things worked out well, in her opinion. Not everyone prizes having every last personal freedom and having a democracy over everything else... and it's a bit haughty to think that they should have your views.
          • by ThousandStars (556222) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:52PM (#11497835) Homepage
            This may be a strange concept to you, but for many people in the world, freedom and democracy are not their top priorities. Often, security and prosperity trump it.

            The problem with your implication is that, over the long term, security and prosperity are inextricably linked with freedom and democracy. Western Europe had to learn this the hard way, and it took centuries to implement democratic frameworks, which most scholars think began with the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century. Those structures didn't become entrenched throughout Europe until after World War II, and only spread to eastern Europe following the end of the Cold War. The point is that the Western world has had a lot of practice and a lot of backsliding that led to lots of nasty wars, abuses of power and egotism.

            Over the short term, some countries may experience a marginally better quality of life due to a government's unwillingness to to respect human rights. Over the long term, however, that kind of government inevitably creates more problems than it solves. See the Soviet Union for a large example. See places like the Balkans or Iraq for smaller ones.

            If Peru had adopted and maintained democratic institutions a century ago, your friend would be much better off today. Instead, people opt or are forced into short term, "temporary" structures in which the government has more power than it should. Then that power is misused. It happened in ancient Rome -- a "tyrant" (before the word gained a pejorative connotation) would seize power during an emergency and then relinquish it. Until someone didn't want to. The point is that real benefits, materialistic and otherwise, come from a free people. It's only a fool's choice to offer security or freedom, because the two can't be fundamentally separated.

        • by detect (227148) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:11PM (#11498062)
          Um, yeah maybe you forgot about a little place called Guantanamo Bay. If you think China is bad you obviously do not know about the following:


          Degrading torture on Habib: lawyer
          By Tamara McLean and Brendan Nicholson
          January 27, 2005

          The lawyer for Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib has outlined an extraordinary series of torture methods that he says were used against his client by the United States.

          Steven Hopper said that Mr Habib was tied to the ground while a prostitute menstruated on him after he failed to co-operate with interrogators.

          Mr Habib is due back in Australia within a week after the US said it would release him without charge. The US has held him for more than three years on suspicion he knew about the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US and trained with al-Qaeda.

          Mr Hopper made the claims at an Australia Day forum in Sydney focusing on Australia's political relationship with the US.

          "Make no doubt about it, Guantanamo Bay wasn't a prisoner-of-war camp," Mr Hopper said. "It was a facility designed to interrogate people. It was nothing more than a vulgar concentration camp and it has marked a new high in the rise of American fascism."

          Mr Hopper said the Americans used prostitutes as "tools". "They'd say to detainees 'If you co-operate with us, we'll let you at this woman for the night'. And if they wouldn't agree they'd use them in other ways."

          According to British detainees held with Mr Habib and since released, "one of the prostitutes stood over him naked while he was strapped to the floor and menstruated on him".

          Mr Hopper told The Age last night that interrogators also defaced photographs of his four children that had been sent to him by his wife Maha. He said they superimposed the heads from the photographs on the bodies of animals offensive to Muslims, such as pigs.

          These were enlarged and put on the wall of the interrogation room. "They held up a picture of Maha and said 'It's a shame we had to kill your family'," Mr Hopper told the forum.

          He said Mr Habib said he was subjected to interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay similar to those used on prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

          A spokesman for Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the Federal Government was aware of similar allegations of torture made by former British detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

          "We haven't heard those sorts of allegations from Mr Habib," he said. "But if he's got any evidence to support those sorts of claims we'd pass them on."

          Mr Habib was detained in Afghanistan in late 2001 and sent to Egypt before being flown to Guantanamo Bay in 2002.

          Mr Hopper also detailed alleged abuses against Mr Habib in Egypt, saying he was strapped to the ceiling with only an electrified barrel to stand on.

          "On other occasions they used German shepherd guard dogs and (interrogators) told him they train dogs to sexually assault people," the lawyer said. But he said Mr Habib said he was not sexually assaulted by the dogs. "Who would admit to it, particularly an Arab Muslim male?"

          The Government said it would charter a jet to fly Mr Habib back from Cuba. He will be free to go home.
          • by Zak3056 (69287) * on Thursday January 27, 2005 @09:34PM (#11499442) Journal
            Um, yeah maybe you forgot about a little place called Guantanamo Bay. If you think China is bad you obviously do not know about the following

            I'm not going to stand up for what's happenning at Gitmo--I'm as opposed to it as you seem to be. However, I can't allow the suggestion that what is happening in Cuba somehow makes the US worse than China to go unchallenged.

            Mao used to rape twelve year old girls. His "Cultural Revolution" and "Great Leap Forward" accounted for the deaths of millions of his own citizens. When the US starts the wholesale murder of its own citizens while Dubya is raping children in the oval office, then we'll talk about "if you think china is bad..."

      • Re:R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bgog (564818) * on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:01PM (#11497225) Journal
        Obey, perhaps, respect? I don't think so. Your statment was well made but if I travel to some country that stones women for adulty you can't tell me that I MUST RESPECT them.

        I agree that if you break the rules in another country you deserve what you get but in my opinion you certainly do not have to respect them.

        There is a big difference between compliance and respect. Respect is earned.
    • by ArmenTanzarian (210418) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:15PM (#11496551) Homepage Journal
      Taking my freedom with me to jail

      On how to take his limited Chinese freedom of information searching to Chinese prison.
    • Re:R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Otter (3800) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:15PM (#11496560) Journal
      Inflammatory comments about the US aside, parent is absolutely correct.

      Screwing around with the legal system of China isn't like wearing a deCSS t-shirt and thinking you're some sort of badass revolutionary. They have those restrictions because they intend them to be obeyed. If you're a citizen of a major country, probably nothing really bad will happen to you, but just getting deported will have dire effects on your future travel plans.

      If you genuinely want to be a freedom fighter there, good luck. But judging from the frivolity of your post "here on slash-o-dot", you really seem to have no idea what you're getting into.

  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:01PM (#11496326)
    This may be obvious to most people (I sure have missed obvious things in the past), but some background as to why you're thinking of moving to China might put your question into proper context.
    • by reporter (666905) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:53PM (#11497115) Homepage
      The obvious point in the original article starting this whole discussion is that the writer is clueless and takes a cavalier attitude towards, not only the Beijing authorities, but also towards the people who have been tortured by those authorities. Click on this link [amnesty.org] to learn about Rebiya Kadeer. Today, I received information from Amnesty International (AI), and it was an urgent plea to us in the AI community to help Rebiya. She has languished for several years in a Chinese prison.

      What was her crime? He wanted to mail copies of publicly available news articles to her husband residing in the USA. The articles dealt with the plight of women in Chinese society. She is serving an 8 year prison sentence, starting in 2000.

      Is anyone angered by this incident? I was infuriated when I received the documents from AI. Visiting China may be "safe" for foreigners, but should we not express our moral outrage by boycotting China and its products?

  • by SupremeTaco (844794) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:03PM (#11496350)
    No sir you are wrong. There is NO censorship here in China, none at all! Yes siree, everything is free and open. As we say here in Chi
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ...sorry my Kung Pao Chicken just arrived. As I was saying. There is NO censorship here in China, none at all. As we say here in China me love you long time.
  • by keesh (202812) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:03PM (#11496351) Homepage
    ...they don't care. Nearly all of this censorship is only aimed at chinese citizens, and then only those that happen to be a convenient PR target. Unless you start actively trying to overthrow the government or anything daft like that, they're not interested.
    • by einhverfr (238914) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:12PM (#11496509) Homepage Journal
      If I were to do this... Which I don;t recomemnd but it is an interesting thought experiment... I would start by asking what the issue is for the Chinese...

      Namely they don't want dangerous ideas to spread. So low-profile sites may escape censorship.

      If it were me, I would set up an SSH server on a public host (maybe hosted by someone like hub dot org). I would set it to listen on port 80. I would then also set up Squid and allow anyone from localhost to proxy through it (Squid on port 8080). Then you can port forward port 8080 on localhost to 8080 on the proxy server and proxy to anywhere else. Depending on how the GFWC works, you might be able to get around it this way. Otherwise, depending on if it recognizes that it is NOT http, you might still be blocked.

      If you keep it a secret from others, it may be low enough to escape their radar. But if you get caught...

      Honestly? I have travelled to many other countries, and I generally recommend trying to live under the customs of the countries. You learn more that way. If you are an American, you can always move back here when you need a change.
      • by Cheeko (165493) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:11PM (#11497354) Homepage Journal
        There was a presentation on the Great Firewall at the HOPE conference last summer. I didn't catch all of it, as it was just as I arrived, but as I recall, all the filtering of content goes on at the router and DNS levels. All traffic through the country is filtered, but only some is acted upon. However all content is affected on a performance level.

        There are automated processes in place for blocking some content, and there are automated processes that evaluate material once it is accessed in a certain pattern. There is also a manual evaluation in which material is reviewed.

        There was also something about logging of IPs and caching, so review can be done later for information that can't be determined up front. All of this combines for a list of IPs, a cache of content, and a number of filtering algorithms that fairly effectively block material. However stuff does get through, but only sparsely. If one IP starts hitting a site over and over, or many people start hitting it, it draws attention.

        You can download the talk at this site [the-fifth-hope.org]. Scroll down to the one entitled "How the Great Firewall works"

    • by nologin (256407) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:39PM (#11496911) Homepage
      Unfortunately, the government's definition of an attempt to overthrow them can be much different than yours, so don't expect your values to mean anything to them.

      I have had the fortune of travelling to China back in 1998, and here is a bit of advice if you plan to make a trip of any significant length.

      1. If you plan on visiting or staying for some period of time, try to avoid bringing any computers or electronic devices with you. They have a strict policy at the border to inspect and confiscate devices if they consider any materials within them to be "detrimental" to the ideologies of the government. If you absolutely need one while you are there, consider buying one in China (the prices are relatively cheap). It is easier to get one out of the country than to bring one in.

      2. While the "Great Firewall of China" might be a nuisance to you, it will be very difficult to avoid. SSH tunnelling will likely be your friend in this case.

      3. Be courteous and cooperate with officials. The larger cities have dedicated police forces, but once you are in the more rural areas, these locations are policed by the army. And they use nice shiny AK-47s as sidearms.

      • by HeghmoH (13204) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @06:44PM (#11497730) Homepage Journal
        Time in China seems to be a lot like time on the internet. Unfortunately, this means that some of your advice is as pertinent to travelling to China today as talk of Netscape Navigator 4 and 40-bit encryption is to using the internet today. Apparently lot has changed in the past seven years.

        There is no special policy whatsoever for electronic devices, and they don't even inspect them at customs. Odds are that half the people on your flight will have notebook computers, digital cameras, PDAs, and of course they will all have cell phones, most of them with cameras and web browsers.

        Certain pieces of computer equipment are cheaper in China (mainly parts like RAM or hard drives) but portable computers are generally more expensive than in the US.

        The "Great Firewall of China" is very much not in evidence in the large cities. Overall, it tends to block specific Chinese dissident web sites, and not obvious stuff like CNN or Voice of America. I was not affected by it at all and you probably won't be either.

        Being courteous and cooperating with officials is always a good idea no matter where you go, of course.
  • Have fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:03PM (#11496360) Homepage Journal

    So basically your question is stating "I'm going to China and expect to be able to break their laws as I was fortunate enough to be born in a more free society."

    Don't whine to the foreign media when you're jailed as a subversive influence.
  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:03PM (#11496363) Homepage
    Do you really want to consider "getting around" the censorship. It's not like they're playing a game over there. They're not setting up challenges for the techno-elite to figure out how to access Slashdot from being the Great Firewall of China. It's not like "Gosh, I can use a proxy! I can tunnel... they'll find this very clever and I'll be able to do whatever I want."

    You'll be breaking the law.

    In China.

    Are you a big fan of breaking the law in general? Are you a big fan of spending days, weeks, or years in a Chinese political prison? Do you like having your legs unbroken?

    I would highly recommend against going to China with a plan of "Getting around" the censhorship. It's not just a technological hurdle to overcome, it's the law. And as a general policy, you don't want to be breaking the law in foreign countries. Their jails aren't as nice as ours.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:07PM (#11496425)
      Do you like having your legs unbroken?

      Yes actually, if they were broken I would very much like to unbreak them.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:14PM (#11496527)

      I'm actually reading your post from China right now, and I'm not entirely sure what you're asking:

      Do you really want to ... play ... a game. Are you a big fan of ... the ... general? Are you a big fan of ... Chinese? Do you like ... your legs?

      I would highly recommend ... going to China. Their jails are ... nice.

  • by daniil (775990) * <evilbj8rn@hotmail.com> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:03PM (#11496364) Journal
    and while I have just as many problems as y'all do with the government

    What kind of problems? Did you sell military secrets to the Chinese?

  • Necessity.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by pploco (694950) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:04PM (#11496375)
    Why do you think China has some of the best hackers in the world? The "necessity is the mother ...." comes to mind.
  • Better Yet (Score:5, Funny)

    by fenris_23 (634852) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:05PM (#11496387)
    Why don't you move to China and do all of those things while maintaining a blog of your adventure. Thus, if your blog suddenly disappears or is abandoned, then we will know for sure what happens in China when you do those things..
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:05PM (#11496392)
    To help fit in when you go to China, I suggest you participate in one of their native religions [leidenuniv.nl]. This will help you get along great in your new home.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:05PM (#11496397) Homepage Journal
    Is the danger of getting around the censors worth it? Do you have a family? How do you feel about going to a Chinese prison?
    I do not know what the legal climate in China is but you may want to think about about it very carefully. What risk will you be putting yourself and or your family if you get caught? It could be as little as a polite warning or getting run over by a tank.
  • by geekd (14774) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:05PM (#11496399) Homepage
    What methods and technologies are you aware of or use to circumvent the Great Firewall of China

    I'd tell you, but then they'd have to kill me.

    -geekd

  • tor.eff.net? (Score:3, Informative)

    by guanno (597251) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:05PM (#11496404)
    I wonder if tor works from inside the great firewall of China. Any Chinese folks who've tried it and care to comment?
  • by clotito (812871) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:06PM (#11496413)
    Here is a comprehensive list of sites banned in China: http://asp-cyber.law.harvard.edu/filtering/list.ht ml [harvard.edu]
  • elgooG (Score:3, Informative)

    by marsu_k (701360) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:08PM (#11496432)
    I haven't tried this myself as I've never been in China, but I've heard that searches via elgooG [alltooflat.com] would effectively bypass "the great firewall". Just a rumour for me though. Could anyone verify this?
  • Asking for it! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:08PM (#11496438)
    You're just looking to get yourself into trouble, aren't you. You know they have censorship there. You know people get arrested in crackdowns. Yet you want to go over there, while not playing by their rules. This is edging close to a Troll.

    Obviously some people break the rules, use outside proxies not yet blocked by the government, and get access to prohibited information. I've been there, three times. I know some of this. And I don't recommend it. If caught, and lucky, you'll just be thrown out of the country. It can be worse.

    The question you should be asking yourself is: Just how much do I want to have a long, happy, and enjoyable time living in the PRC?

    Why not try living like a real Chinese citizen for a few months just to see what it's like? Why else go, if you're only trying to live your Western-style life just in a new location?

  • Possible Solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:08PM (#11496440)
    Instead of moving to Mainland China, move to Taiwan?
  • freedom gone (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:08PM (#11496453)
    Having lived there, well

    a) hope you know chinese

    b) public interenet, cds, etc. is OK, and there may be more there than is let on. Note: they banned this because it's already out.

    c) there are proxies that will let you circumvent, but they will know you did that. It's a moving target game.

    other notes
    - self censorship challenges; Americans (I'm one) are loud and boisterous. Like to challenge boundarys and assumptions. That's not their culture and frowned upon.

    Basically, it's going to be different, and depends entirely where you are in that vast ranging country.
  • by GatesGhost (850912) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:09PM (#11496463)
    and dont use the people's explorer of internet. But i hear the chinese food there rocks (or as they call it there, 'food')
  • Censorship.....Bah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by fenix99 (801475) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:09PM (#11496464)
    I recently spent the better part of a year living in Guangzhou followed by a few months in Chengdu. As for Porn, it was being sold on the streets. I found there to be no real enforcing of any of these "bans" the central government keeps talking about. The conry is actually very free on a day to day basis, as long as you don't bring religion or something similar into a School you're teaching at, you're ok
    • by eformo (552250) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:54PM (#11497133)
      I lived in Beijing between August 2000 and July 2002. Because Beijing was competing for the position as 2008 Olympic host city, things like the porn were being cleaned up. This also meant that people without urban residence permits were regularly shipped back to the countryside (I hate it when the person I buy breakfast from gets kicked out of the city. Ruins the whole day.) Government intervention in daily life seemed rare, though draconian when it popped up. (They shut off heat for about a million people just to clear the skies up for the IOC)

      Regarding the internet, some friends and I made use of a commercial product with an encrypted IP tunnel past the Great Firewall. As a result, I never suffered any problems regarding online censorship. The only time I noticed things really being censored(other than the propaganda machine that is the Chinese press), was immediately after the attacks on 9-11 when the TV news channel that I was watching got shut down.

      Parent's got it right, as long as you give them no reason to bother you, they will spend their time bothering someone else.

      -ex

  • Falun Gong (Score:3, Funny)

    by ponds (728911) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:10PM (#11496470)
    Just be sure to talk about Falun Gong wherever you go in China, and they'll love you.
  • by Alsee (515537) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:16PM (#11496580) Homepage
    Taking My Freedom With Me to China?
    Taking My Cocaine With Me to the US?
    Taking Kiddy Porn With Me to England?
    Taking Salman Rushdie With Me to Iran?

    -
  • Problem solved (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:18PM (#11496610) Homepage
    "What methods and technologies are you aware of or use to circumvent the Great Firewall of China?"

    A simple unencrypted squid proxy. I live in China, and some sites are blocked (BBC News, Miami Herald, etc). I set up a proxy on a linux box in the USA, and I use it whenever I encounter a blocked site (hit F12-x in Opera to toggle).

    It's also useful when there's simply a bad connection or slow speed. Often, I can't get a good connection to some site or other, and it's not blocked, I know it's up, but the crappy infrastructure here drops my packets. So, even if there were no Great Firewall, I'd still have my proxy handy. The Great Firewall isn't too concerned with English language websites. As far as I know, only Chinese and English language sites are blocked...any other nationalities get off scot-free.

    And don't worry about getting clubbed in the head by the cops, or anything stupid like that. China is just like everywhere else...you mess with the bull, you get the horns. Hell, we smoke joints openly on the street. Nobody knows what it smells like. We went out on a lake, and the boatman asked, "why are you 6 people sharing one cigarette...you don't have enough money to afford cigarettes for everyone?"

  • VPN tunnel. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by loucura! (247834) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:21PM (#11496652)
    Our company has employees in China, and their work requires that they be able to access our corporate systems. So, they've got a VPN connection through the GFC, that VPN connection also includes unfiltered Internet access. From what I'm told by our Network Admin, unfiltered access is something of a status symbol over there.
  • by laing (303349) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:21PM (#11496656)
    I've taken a few trips to P.R.C. since my wife is from there. I had a few problems trying to upload photos from a digital camera to a server back home (yes, I used disposable passwords). First I attempted to FTP the files directly to the server. I found that the FTP connection was dropped after transferring about 8k bytes. Next, I tried http put to my web server with a similar result. Finally I tried to send each picture as an e-mail attachment. This also failed. It seems that China does not want any unauthorized information going OUT of the country. I finally tried running an FTP server locally on the dynamic IP (163.net) and connecting to it from outside (after telnetting to my US based server). Amazingly enough it worked! Files can be moved out of China from an internal server but not from a client.

    As far as free access to information goes, good luck. They seem to have several layers of control. The first layer is DNS. Just about any US based radio or TV domain name will not resolve. You might be able to get to the site if you can get the IP address (perhaps using a method similar to above). Many sites use the hostname in the http query to determine which site to serve, in these cases you're out of luck. There may be DNS and web proxies that you can use but these are fleeting.

    --
    Sigs are a waste of space
  • Chanelling (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:23PM (#11496688) Journal
    I think Solo Han may be chanelling Mao. You are basically asking people to explain how to circumvent their government's controls, when that government is known to do some rather painful things to those that subvert the government?
    I call Shenanagins, the question is either just troll BS, or the the guy asking it is too dumb to utilize the answers.
    Face it, would anyone comming to the US really ask, in a public forum, how do I get around the US's stupid drug laws? (Please don't answer this, I'm trying to nurture a little faith in humanity)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:24PM (#11496708)
    He says nothing about the freedom to speak or offer others his opinions or views. Or freedom to express parody. He says nothing about freedom to practice a religion of his choice. Or about any freedoms that are actually real and important. How very sad, that his idea of "freedom" is simply being able to access web sites he chooses and download some music and porn. Yes, he would make the perfect American consumer for the future corporations have in mind here.

  • by ostrich2 (128240) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:25PM (#11496720)
    Hello, I know it is possible to circumvent the Chinese Firewall and such, but exactly how do you do it? Who is your contact in the Network Administration Administration? Do you discuss these issues with other people inside the firewall? What are their names and do you know where they live? No, I am just curious. I do not work for the glorious and envied government of PRC.
  • by eclectic4 (665330) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:42PM (#11496952)
    ...you will be rewarded by being able to purchase almost any piece of software known to man for around $3. Any movie for about $1, and game for about $3.

    There are malls there that are huge, and hold nothing but pirated software. Also, they copy EVERYthing, even entire cars. Honda in fact hired them for some parts manufacturing because they copied theirs so well for a much lower cost. If you can't beat them... They even introduced a complete copy of a "GM" car before GM even announced it. They are absolute masters at copying everything, manufacturing those copies, and even industrial espioniage. And the speed at which they do it is amazing.

    It's a bootleg economy. Enjoy it I say!
  • by LeiGong (621856) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:42PM (#11496962) Homepage
    China is not 1984. Repeat after me, China is not 1984. China is not EastAsia.

    It seems to me very few of you have actually been to China or even understand how the system there works. For the same reason why Europeans think we're a country of hicks driving around in a pickup with shotguns who elected a idiot to office is why you think the Chinese is some sort of omni-present superpower that oversees all of the minute details of its citizens' lives and takes sadistic pleasure in torture. You're taking in media hype and a fear of the unknown. China has its share of problems: freedom of speech and freedom of religion come to mind. These are serious issues that need to be addressed but that doesn't mean everytime you commit a crime in China you will be sent into "reeducation." That also doesn't mean if you use a proxy to surf the web that they're going to break your thumbs. The Chinese government are too busy with the same serious issues that the US is dealing with to be bothered by these minor offenses.

    While it may sound like the Chinese police force operate a Gestapo-like regime but that's far from the truth. Believe or not, China has laws and 99% of the time, they are followed. They also have lawyers that will free an innocent man. Some people vision of a totalitarian society governed by "The Party" are just too far fetched. Do they honestly think that the police operate on whatever laws they please and the people live in constant fear? I'll tell you from actually lived in China that it is hardly the case. People are way too reoccupied w/ making money to give a shit. Just remember the same media that is telling you to be afraid of China is the same one that ran the special on 20/20 about the wide-spread dangers of drier lint fires and the world-wide SARS epedemic.

  • by Xiaotou (695728) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:49PM (#11497055)
    I have. It really opened my eyes to the freedoms we enjoy versus the freedoms they enjoy.

    I have family in Shanghai (huge city), Xi'an (pretty big city), BaoJi City (Medium-sized city), and a small villiage nearby. I have travelled to all of these places and stayed wih my relatives. As a native-born American, I was thoroughly impressed with the freedom that they enjoy.

    Many Chinese never even come in contact with a Policeman. Judges and government officials (my cousin is a Provincial (read: State) Supreme Court Judge, and her husband is a high-ranking government official, BTW) live like common "folk," and people do and say almost anything they want. My nephews all play Counterstrike on-line against their classmates, and they all surf the internet. You have to understand that Chinese people are just not into Pr0n and such things like we (Americans) are. So, for them, not having access to Pr0n just isn't a big deal.

    But hey, don't take my word for it. Go see for yourself.

    Oh, and the one baby thing is only enforced in the big cities. Again, don't take my word for it. Most of my family in the smaller areas have several children.
    • by aCC (10513) * on Thursday January 27, 2005 @09:24PM (#11499380) Homepage
      I've lived there and seen it for myself.

      I lived for 4 months in Baoji and then for 2.5 years in Shanghai. My girlfriend lived for 2 years in Baoji working in University and Middle Schools and for 6 months in Beijing. So, I've seen and experienced probably more than you.

      Living in China made me realize how much freedom we have in the west. Yes, many people speak quite openly about what they dislike. As do most people still believe Mao was the greatest person on earth (put some "70% good, 30% bad" in it to water it a bit down). But you realize how much freedom is missing when people criticize the government and keep looking over their shoulders if no strangers are listening. Can you imagine bashing Bush in Central Park in New York or bashing Blair in London and worrying that someone might hear it and get you into trouble? Privately and with foreigners they don't risk too much by being honest.

      The worst thing about China in my experience is the utterly useless and terrible media (because of the extreme censorship) and the non-existing legal system. So, theoretically many people have rights. But when a street with its buildings gets completely destroyed outside the university (as happened in Baoji) to make room for a wider road, then theoretically all the shop owners and restaurant owners get compensated for losing their main source of income. But they don't and they don't even think about going to court because it's useless.

      It's true about the police, but only because the police actually has little rights. The communist party is the ruler and they take care of things. But aside from that Chinese are in most cases very decent people (much more than in the west) because of peer pressure to not lose face for the family and other reasons.

      Go there for a longer period of time and you'll see what the real deal is. Most people only go for some weeks or months and haven't even scratched the surface. The Chinese people are very good at making you believe things are great and only later you find out that things actually aren't great.

      (Not often that I see the precious chicken (Baoji) mentioned on /. :-) )
  • SSH (Score:5, Informative)

    by prizog (42097) <novalis-slashdot.novalis@org> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @05:53PM (#11497127) Homepage
    When I was there in September, SSHing to my shell account worked just fine. Tunnel through that, and you'll be fine.

    If you're going to do human rights work there, that it's probably best to do one illegal thing at a time. So, don't look at porn when your issue is Falun Gong. And likewise, don't look at Falun Gong sites if your issue is porn.

    If you're just on vacation, consider spending your time seeing the sites rather than surfing the net. It'll be there when you get home.

    Ignore all the idiots on this site who tell you to obey unjust laws.
  • misinformation (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheOverlord (513150) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @08:50PM (#11499085)
    I'm writing this way too late to get modded high enough for anyone to see but maybe someone will see it and it'll help. The irony is that I'm so late in posting as I'm in China and just woke up this morning.

    I was here briefly last summer and am now doing a semester abroad. China really is not that a bad of a place to be. It seems most of the replies are very negative or sarcastic about the security situation in China. In all seriousness, living here as a foreigner is not that bad. Sure you have to deal with weird, to the US, government regulations, but I don't feel as though I'm under an iron fist or anything. Just respect the culture and their customs/laws and you will have a great time.

    Oh and if you take the time to learn even a bit of the language it can help immensely. I know I've run into many people who were much more cordial when I told them (in Chinese) that I was a student here learning the language.

    Everyone has different experiences, especially if you are ABC or even look remotely Chinese. But instead of listening to a bunch of other people talk about it, just take a 2 week trip to China and see for yourself. I think more Americans need to get out and see the realities of the world (although my cynicism says that when the they do the average Americans will do something stupid, get into trouble, and then blame it not on themselves but on the country they are in)

  • by dalutong (260603) <.djtansey. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:01AM (#11500279)
    There are some serious misunderstandings about China being voiced here -- even by people who have gone there. I can understand this. I spent seven years in China and saw many misunderstandings both by people who had just gotten there and by people who had lived there but never bothered to really immerse themselves in it.

    China is a wonderful place. The people are nice. The culture is respect-worthy. The landscape is beautiful. The history is intoxicating.

    Is there corruption, especially in the really rural areas? Yes. But if you understand the culture and the guanxi (relationships) system then you will have few problems. They ask for 15 RMB for something that is supposed to be free? Give it. Who cares? It's two bucks. Though usually, if you speak some chinese, you can demonstrate that you are a friend of the country and of its people and get around with no hassles.

    As for the government's rejection of human rights -- things are relative. I don't approve of everything that the Chinese government does, but I also appreciate that there is an amount of ethnorelativism that needs to be engaged consciously. For instance, the UN definition of human rights includes a provision that allows everyone to live at a certain basic level -- something we know as welfare. But Americans wouldn't submit to that being a human right. Much of the world's declaration of human rights is not considered valid in the developing world because people see them as western-defined examples of human _needs_ -- something everyone accepts. (Read Azar. Human needs fit into three groups -- security (food, protection, water, etc), acceptance (for whatever group you identify with) and access to/participation in the institutions that allocate resources (markets or governments.)

    As for Internet access -- it is easy to come by. It isn't the fastest stuff in the world (esp. outside of the big cities) but the blocks are nominal. You can get around them as well. Some methods are mentioned in this thread.

    You shouldn't worry about having your freedoms repressed. Just be sensitive. Just like you wouldn't walk around Saudi Arabia (as a woman) wearing a bikini top screaming "you should be allowed to do this too!" you don't walk around China doing things that aren't culturally acceptable. It is disrespectful. And in China respect means a lot.

    So I hope you do it. The best seven years of my life (so far) were those spent in China. It was a mind-opening experience. If you have any questions you can email me. (Just make sure that you write a good subject line so I don't click "junk.") Take care! Oh, and don't listen to anyone who says China sucks or is oppressive. The experience of individuals can be awful anywhere. But statistically speaking the vast majority of Chinese and of foreigners live happily.
  • by root-a-begger (854073) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:52AM (#11500537)
    I have lived in Shanghai for 4 years (U.S. born, white male). Life in Shanghai is very easy. Its simply a very large city...other than that, there is nothing that a normal U.S. citizen would find "oppressive". If you are a person who is compelled to stand on street corners in the U.S. and stir up a riot over government policies, then neither the U.S. nor China are for you at the moment. But if you are a normal person who isn't interested in stirring a revolution, China is simply not an oppressive place. You can have small group and one-on-one conversations about anything you want (even politically sensitive issues). You can access almost any content you may desire over the net (some porn sites have been blocked...some chinese political content (in Madarin, so you couldn't read it anyway) has been blocked)...but google works as you would expect and most any business which requires internet access can be conducted fairly easily. Sure, doing things like extending your visa requires going to a gov building and waiting in line, but how often do you do this? Its not much different than going to a U.S. gov office. Other services are mostly private/free-enterprise and are very easily accessed; your largest barrier is language. As with almost any travel around the world, an open mind and a friendly smile will do lots to improve your experience. In terms of the Internet...it is very slow to access non-China servers. This is caused by two major issues: 1 - the "Great Firewall" and 2 - enormous amounts of local traffic (lots of it due to infected PCs). Best guess is that its item 2 that is the biggest problem with traffic, since the content filter isn't real-time (or so it would appear). MS's recent announcement to not continue to security patch unlicensed copies of Windows will no doubt add to this problem. As to other places besides Shanghai, well this is the top city China for westerners to do business so its the easiest...for anywhere else you can scale down your expectations on services from here; but freedom of expression, movement, etc...are all pretty smooth so long as your not here to stir up trouble. Good luck to you...

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