I’m just back from five days in the PRC, shooting a project. While there I was unable connect with Lightstalkers. I assume it was being officially blocked, as is Facebook, Twitter and a lot of other US “social networking” sites. Is that others’ experience as well?
I’ve heard that my personal website is blocked in China – not sure if
there’s a connection, I’d be more inclined to think it’s getting
blocked under a broad net as Neal mentioned. I’ve also found Lightstalkers
blocked on some US military networks.
Michael Anti gave an interesting talk in Edinburgh recently about Chinese internet control that’s worth watching:
There are a bunch of Chinese clone sites for FB, Google, and others (which allow the government to monitor/control the sites), but I’ll bet you a bottle of Old Monk Punjabi rum that they ain’t got no Lightstalkers!
I’m still not sure how or what is blocked in China. My ex is from Singapore, but has been living in Shanghai for two years now with her husband who is a German national working for a Sheraton as an executive chef. She has had full access to Facebook and Skype the entire time. Pinging her IP while in chat comes up with the hotel, so I’m not sure if they have some sort of crazy proxy or what going on there.
It seemed that some sights were being slowed down (perhaps) in China, I suspect deliberately. For example, Google (which competes with a government-controlled search engine site) was definitely slower some days.
I did some checking when I got back and it seems the secret to Internet access in countries where there is selective blockage is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This seems to be better than a proxy server, as proxy websites can be identified and blocked more easily. Google it and you can find a number of them. Usually there is a fee (in the range of $20 a month). The good news is that one can get the VPN for a month only, so a short-term visitor doesn’t have to commit to a long subscription.
I’m going to post another interesting China data communications question here on LS to avoid diluting this one.