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Explore the Web From China

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the walking-in-somebody-else's-shoes dept.

Censorship 165

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Download.com: "It slows down your browsing. It makes some Web sites inaccessible for no discernible reason. It doesn't even offer you any xiao long bao or pu'er tea for your troubles. But if you want to know what life behind the Great Firewall of China is like, then the Firefox plug-in China Channel is the cheapest and fastest way to experience using the Internet in China without actually being there."

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165 comments

Proxy or simulation? (4, Interesting)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565325)

Does this plugin actually proxy your web browsing through a Chinese host? Or does it just randomly mess with your requests?

Kind of reminds me of apt-gentoo [livejournal.com].

Answer: Proxy (4, Informative)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565333)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but I just found in TFA where it says that the plugin routes you through a Chinese proxy.

I can't imagine this open proxy will last long.

TFA is terrible (5, Interesting)

nullchar (446050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565469)

A ghastly article that is shoddy on details. It barely mentioned it was a proxy (as I was also wondering if this was a simulation). The article describes that the toolbar will display your new IP, but the screenshots do not show it.

Also, in regards to the extension:

  1. The "China Channel" is a horrid name
  2. w00t, just what every browser needs, yet another screen-real-estate-sucking toolbar
  3. To get the same experience, why not use one of the many [mozilla.org] proxy [mozilla.org] switching extensions. Then go find a list of Chinese proxies so you can cycle through them.

I do, however, respect the point of showing the rest of the world how the web "feels" inside of China.

On a related note, does anyone have a list of proxies organized by country? As a web developer, I would love to test various web sites that geo-code the IP and dynamically display different content.

Re:TFA is terrible (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565597)

On a related note, does anyone have a list of proxies organized by country? As a web developer, I would love to test various web sites that geo-code the IP and dynamically display different content.

Try google.com. They have that information I think.

Re:Answer: Proxy (1)

pegdhcp (1158827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565615)

Do you mean, there would be countless people, who want to share the joy of Chinese People's Internet experience?

Re:Answer: Proxy (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566149)

As an Australian this is a look into the near future.

Re:Answer: Proxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566475)

do you suppose or is it a fact?

Re:Answer: Proxy (5, Insightful)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566207)

Are people really going to develop web applications for Chinese users and not host them in China? Do they think Chinese users surf a lot of English language content on budget shared hosts?

Not to trivialize the censorship issues involved, but if someone really wants to know what surfing the Internet is like for Chinese people, they should learn Chinese and read their complaints in person. There are plenty of sites that offer language lessons basically for free these days. My favorite is Popup Chinese [popupchinese.com] because their hosts speak standard mandarin and they have a great popup dictionary plugin.

Once you know the language you can get out into the actual Chinese Internet. Find out the difference between Baidu and Google. Have Tencent screw up your computer. Watch videos on youku and surf chat forums. It takes time to get to the point where this is comfortable for second language speakers, but Chinese is looking a lot more valuable than banking at this point.....

Re:Proxy or simulation? (1)

resignator (670173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565445)

Does this plugin actually proxy your web browsing through a Chinese host? Or does it just randomly mess with your requests?

Kind of reminds me of apt-gentoo [livejournal.com].

This plugin is based the SwitchProxy Tool plugin. Also, from the release notes:
- Find an awesome source for Chinese proxy servers, and keep the list updated.

Fear (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565327)

Can it recreate the fear that making the wrong post on a blog will get you arrested?

Re:Fear (5, Funny)

zxnos (813588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565347)

no, there is nothing to fear. i have been making posts thr

Re:Fear (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565467)

There is nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565645)

The Chinese government doesn't care what you post, they only care if people are reading it.

Re:Fear (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565693)

No, but fear not, or fear more!

The US Gov or/and(if you are not in the US) your Gov is no doubt working hard on bringing you that very feature!

Re:Fear (3, Funny)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565949)

That is available with the premium option, not available in the free option. With the gold or platinum option you can also be sent to a reeducation camp. ;-)

Forthcoming Update (5, Funny)

Forrest Kyle (955623) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565331)

I hear there is an update coming soon that simulates what its like to disagree with the government in China. It's pretty cool. You install the plugin and a tank will instantly appear and run you over.

Re:Forthcoming Update (1)

Atriqus (826899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565431)

Wow that was in poor taste!

...I like it. :D

Re:Forthcoming Update (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565619)

I don't know, since the guy from that iconic picture was not run over, and allegedly was never even found after he left the street, the joke just seems flat to me.

Re:Forthcoming Update (3, Insightful)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565663)

never even found after he left the street

You're right, that is much more comforting. I'm sure he's fine.

Re:Forthcoming Update (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566651)

was never even found after he left the street.

Didn't exactly leave the street. Was removed by Chinese police (he put up no struggle), and then was never heard from again.

I'm sure he's fine. They just wanted to take him back to the station for milk and cookies!

Re:Forthcoming Update (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565639)

Actually, telling the truth is more often than not "in poor taste" ... at least according to how I see the world. You might or might not agree, but most of the population is either afraid or ignorant of the truth. Sure, that puts this close to a tin foil hat argument, but as my grandfather used to say "there is no smoke without fire" and there is usually a fire burning behind a tin foil hat story.

Life really is not how the MSM portrays it. They will lie to you without thinking twice, and smile when they do it. If it was not for the Internet, most Americans would have no readily accessible access to 'real' news. I'm not saying the BBC or Al Jazeera are absolute poster children for good news sources, but they do a hell of a better job most days than network news in the USA.

So yes, that might have been in poor taste... so lets celebrate someone that wants to poke fun by hinting at the truth. Most Chinese citizens under the age of 25 do not know what they are looking at when presented with a photo or picture of 'tank man'... hence the real value of the humor.

Hm (5, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565351)

We should make a system that loads every page you visit from 3~4 countries. Then have a notification if any differences are found, and what they are. It'd be interesting to see who's blocking what. Curious about Australia recently, I like hearing about the supposed good guys doing bad things. It makes the 'i hate commies' people uncomfortable, atleast enough to shut it.

Re:Hm (2, Interesting)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565715)

As an Australian I was considering setting something like this up through a webhost in the USA. Basically have the given url side by side through an Aus proxy and also directly out through the US host to determine whether a site is being filtered. If and when this internet filter comes online but also to see if you are unwittingly part of a trial for it.

Any thoughts on issues with this? My main concern would be the fact that as any url can be entered you are potentially opening yourself up for trouble in that you are going to and serving up content from any dark corner of the net that the user wants to test. So both the US webhost and the AUS proxy could come asking questions about why your hosted site is going to questionable sites.

Obviously would need some kind of limit on number of requests as well, but that is fairly easy fixed.

Re:Hm (1)

Fleeced (585092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565807)

It makes the 'i hate commies' people uncomfortable, atleast enough to shut it.

Well, I do hate commies... but alas, we elected them to power (but don't blame me, I voted for Kodos)

Re:Hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566309)

excellent idea, I'd love to see hulu.com from American 'point of view'

Or, for Aussies... (3, Insightful)

Keramos (1263560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565357)

Or you could wait a bit, and just surf from Australia. Yay.

Re:Or, for Aussies... (4, Informative)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565869)

Regarding the Australian filter, it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

The Green party and the Liberal party are both going to block the legislation in the Upper House. Their numbers combined are enough to stop the bill from passing.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/10/30/1224956188036.html [theage.com.au]

The Greens don't get much of their other policies talked about very much, besides the environment, but they have the most pro-Slashdot internet platform out of any political party. By that I mean they support open standards, net-neutrality and internet freedom (no censorship). They also want the government to embrace open source and all government documents to saved in an open document standard.

Re:Or, for Aussies... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566371)

Which is nice. The Australian National Archives already use ODF for all their archived documents. :)

who cares? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565375)

Next can someone release a simulation of what it's like to be a woman in Darfur? This is useless...

Re:who cares? (1)

radimvice (762083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565733)

You mean like this one [darfurisdying.com]?

Re:who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565865)

Who gives a fuck about Darfur besides a few shallow,bandwagoning, clueless celebrities?!

Everybody has pretty much realized that Africa is a lost cause. The strongest navies in the world can't even keep a few Tanks [time.com] safe from Somali pirates!

North Korea (5, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565379)

That's nothing. I made a plugin to simulate internet experience from North Korea. I will release it if I can get on the slashdot front page.

Re:North Korea (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565953)

Similarly, I made a Soviet Russia plugin that simulates what it's like to be inside you!

Re:North Korea (5, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566005)

Usually those things going inside of you are battery-powered, not plug-ins...

Re:North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566557)

Sissy.

Meh (4, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565383)

When I was using the internet in various cafes in Beijing, I didn't notice any blocks from sites I wanted to visit. I could update my livejournal, and ssh to my computer in America, so I'm not really sure what the great firewall really could accomplish. I mean, I could feasibly tunnel all of my connection through the ssh link, after all.

That said, while I was ssh-ed into my home computer, a Beijing police officer came in and started walking around looking at people's computers...

Re:Meh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565447)

Were you doing this during the Olympics? Because, y'know, they did a crap load of PR work during the Olympics, including making internet browsing much easier, so that foreigners would get a positive impression and spread anecdotes like yours.

Re:Meh (4, Insightful)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565475)

Yeah, no intimidation for the locals with an officer walking around. Could you imagine that at a public library or Starbucks in the US? Oh, wait, we do have to show ID before we can use the computer at our local library. But no police walking around.

No doubt you had full access due to your foreign ID/passport that I'm sure you were required to show before you were given access.

If you were in China during or up to the Olympics, you experienced a totally different internet than before and again now with things back to normal. Things were wide open at the internet cafes - but of course they still had all the IDs of whatever citizens were foolish enough to do something or try something they shouldn't. They needn't arrest them in the cafe, they'll just wait for them to go home and arrest them there.

Re:Meh (5, Interesting)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565599)

I have never had to show my passport to use an internet cafe in P.R. China. It is pretty obvious that I am a foreigner. However, my friend has a special card that she uses to use an internet cafe.

I have posted on this in the past, but always get modded down for it. The Chinese students have positive feelings about the "real ID" used to access the internet. There a tremendous amount of cheating and scamming in Chinese daily life, much more so than in America, and they feel that the "real ID" decreases the possibility that they will be cheated.

This is particularly true in social chat rooms and on QQ (a popular chat program in China).

Re:Meh (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565631)

A friend of mine recently returned from northern China. She had her travel documents copied and the time of her visit noted repeatedly when visiting Internet cafes.

Re:Meh (1)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565657)

My observation is that the further north I go, the more the rules are obeyed. I the area I am in I don't even bother carrying my passport. I only use it if I am checking into a hotel.

Re:Meh (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565653)

What would they be cheated from? How is the "real ID" going to decrease them from being cheated?

Re:Meh (2, Informative)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565681)

As an example, some guys like to play as many girls as they can. I know you may doubt it, but it has been known to happen.

Knowing who they are really talking to makes them feel safer. I know that is something that Slashdoters may think is silly; but, not everyone online is who or what they say they are... really...

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565945)

Knowing who they are really talking to makes them feel safer. I know that is something that Slashdoters may think is silly; but, not everyone online is who or what they say they are... really...

Except that they don't, and it is silly?

WTF does checking ID when you visit a net cafe have to do with who you're talking to or who you log in as or even who you are?

I've yet to see anywhere that goes around matching up your ID and QQ number and booting you out if they don't match?

Let alone how insanely cheap and easy it is to get fake ID of any shape or form here.

Re:Meh (1)

tmo72 (604664) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565851)

I had a similar experience. I was in Guangzhou a few weeks ago, and expected to run into problems reading western news. I tested a bunch of news sites (Canadian, UK and US) and they all came up fine. No problems with non-news sites either. This was from a home connection. The censorship wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be, but I wouldn't say it's all open either... a friend told me routinely uses Tor to get to some sites.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565873)

Your LJ, during the Olympics, yes. Since, no way in hell.

For the SSH tunnel though, that's exactly what everyone with a clue does? Rent a basic US shell account somewhere, and tunnel through.

And they can hardly block every international SSH connection (Which is what they'd have to do, how can they tell which is what?), far too many of their own big business chums have "legitimate" uses for them.

Even a basic account anywhere would be prohibitively expensive for most Chinese people though, let alone the fact that they simply don't know how in the vast majority of cases.

Yet all of it is kind of a pointless discussion, few of them are even aware that all of this is even going on, and even amongst those who are the number who care is practically nonexistent...

China SSH MiTM attack [lkbm] (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566443)

Did you check that your computer had the right key when you ssh'ed into your home computer?

I understand that they do a Man In The Middle Attack on every ssh connection!

Re:Meh (1)

BeShaMo (996745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566737)

When I was using the internet in various cafes in Beijing, I didn't notice any blocks from sites I wanted to visit. I could update my livejournal, and ssh to my computer in America, so I'm not really sure what the great firewall really could accomplish. I mean, I could feasibly tunnel all of my connection through the ssh link, after all.

While this is true, my sense is that the Great Firewall is mostly in place to prevent people from accidently stumble over dissident information. The 1% of the population who cares and actually are interested in antigovernment information can and will get hands on it. The government is, I believe, quite content with this arrangement. They can then worry about the 1% and arrest them if they become a problem. This is the reason why the Chinese language Google site would not list entries about the TianAnMen incident, but the English would (even within China)

That's right folks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565425)

Do you feel your internet viewing is a little too free? Do you run out of things to say when the conversation turns to "the suppression of speech?" Are you feeling left out of this whole government oppression kick?

Well, don't be! Come joy in the fun: you too can experience all the joys of censorship. In no time you'll see this whole freedom of information thing is overrated. Act now!

Dang, that was a trip (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565453)

I was on there for like five minutes when I landed on Chairman Mao's old GeoCities page. Man, how time flies! If you haven't seen it before there's a cool animated .gif of "Mao's Corner" being written in Mao-style calligraphy. The last update indicated that his urine output was down to 290cc a day. We'll miss ya, big guy. Drink more fluids on the other side.

A bit off-topic, but... (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565491)

Anyone knows of a simple way to temporarily slow down your internet connection on Mac OS X?

It would be nice to be able to test various connection speeds for websites. I need to test multiple browsers, so a Firefox plug-in won't do.

Re:A bit off-topic, but... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565579)

I park a truck in the tube, so when I receive an internet is takes longer to come through, because there's not enough room for my internet and other internets.

Re:A bit off-topic, but... (3, Informative)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565601)

Dunno about MacOS X (which, is my primary platform) but in Linux you can use traffic controller- something like

tc qdisc add dev eth1 root hadle ee:0 tbf rate 56kbit burst 8Kb latency 100ms

Which basically means something like add a Token Bucket Filter queue discipline to the interface eth1 with the handle ee:0 (arbitrary if this is the only discipline) using those properties. There's other kinds of filters too. You can just run this on your Linux router/firewall (on the port from the router to your mac). You do have a Linux router and a Mac right? The best part is that since it's running on the router it's platform independent downstream. I think I saw a shareware bit on macupdate that does what you're asking directly on your mac (this might be it? [macupdate.com]) but if you already have a router in place the linux route is great and you can tweak it via ssh, switching add for change.

Cheers, Ed

Avid linux users? (3, Interesting)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565611)

And for any avid linux users out there, the community could really benefit from some updated documentation on how to properly use tc mostly the only documentation is the source, which is great for completeness and accuracy but not helpful at all if you want to get something done in less than 3 days.

Re:A bit off-topic, but... (1)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566479)

Is this possible to do on DD-WRT for wireless connections?

I'm trying to read the manpage (on my Debian box), and it's confusing me...

Keep one thng in mind... (5, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565511)

Many ISPs outside of China, ban entire blocks of addresses that originate inside China.

If you happen to be browsing from a computer that has an IP address corresponding to a range that has been banned in North America, as an example, you will find it hard to reach various sources that people in NA can reach without issue. Example: GoDaddy hosted sites.

This has nothing to do with anything related to 'The Great Firewall'...

Yes! (2, Funny)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565529)

I for one look forward to being able to bypass my draconian Australian censorship by proxying into China!

Thank you, my benevolent Chinese overlords! BTW, what's the real story behind Tian

Re:Yes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565621)

OH LAWDY LOO HOW DID HE HIT THE REPLY BUTTON OH LAWD

oh lawdy loo i got bitchsmacked by the lameness filter oh lawdy it sez i yells but i always yell i yell in the movies when the dumb cracka bitch opens the basement door when the scary music plays i goes like oh lawds that cracka gon crazy don't enter there gurl but she got smacked by her crazy baby daddy anyways and oh lawds i wants some fried chickunz and watermellons now

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565971)

Do you ever wonder why everyone you meet thinks you're a complete and utter moron?

I don't mind funny trolls at all. I'm a chan/ED regular. But you're a lame, unfunny, insipid tryhard douche. Fuck off and go think about your life and how you can't even manage to troll well.

What type of proxy, run by whom? (1)

Toffins (1069136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565591)

I can't check this myself at the moment - has anyone checked whether the Chinese proxy is non-transparent - does it leak the forwarded IP address (your IP address) in the http headers?

Also, I wonder who runs this Chinese proxy? Is it the Chinese government's? Is there any reason to trust the proxy for any purpose except testing?

Chinese firewall in USA. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565603)

No joke one time I searched for a banned chinese phrase on baidu.com, and I was banned from all Google domains for 24 hours. Blocked at the IP address level. Either Google or Comcast are extending the Chinese firewall to the US. Other sites worked and I could access Google from a proxy server. I emphasize that I live in the United States.

Re:Chinese firewall in USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25565803)

That's what you get for searching for Candleja

China? Try Vietnam instead. (1)

Clarious (1177725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565759)

If you want to have more "interesting" test you should try Vietnam, it also has the same censorship as China, if not worse, because they don't have a system like the great firewall so they decided to block everything, for example a few months ago the whole wordpress and blogspot got blocked (lucky for my, they just unblocked it lately), and the internet connection quality is just plain suck.

I Just installed it (2, Interesting)

specific_pacific (904746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565825)

And realised it was blocking sites that are actually open through my ISP (I'm in Beijing).

Anyway it's not the blocking of sites that's a worry, it's the moderation of forums for sensitive issues. Check out www.chinasmack.com for some nice tidbits. Sometimes they get posts translated before they're removed.

Only foreigners care (3, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565875)

Almost no one in China cares about the firewall. The only sites the Chinese want access to are already on their side - the majority of them can't read anything but Chinese anyway.

It's really only foreigners that care.

sounds like a bad tour brochure (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565919)

explore the web from china!

practice christianity in saudi arabia!

be an outspoken journalist in russia!

be a part of the world tour of persecution!

You forgot..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566261)

Hold "Left-Wing" views in the USA!

(Remember a "socialist" is one step away from a "god-damn commie")

Re:sounds like a bad tour brochure (1)

CokePepsiandOreos (1396559) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566507)

...ask for a small portion in a restaurnt in the USA
 
...ask for hot milk in your tea in the UK
 
...order an Australian wine in a French restaurant
 
...ask for a jar of Marmite in an Australian supermarket

Live dangerously! ...

Just got back from a nine day trip... (1)

mellestad (1301507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565923)

The net there did tend to be slow, and a decent amount of sites were blocked. Porn is hard to get (not that I looked, haha) and some news sites were blocked. CNN would not work, but Fox, MSN and the BBC would. Google worked, but Google image search would not. Very hit and miss. And a couple times sites would work for a couple days, then disappear. The thing that surprised me is that it is very hard to get English versions of popular webpages. Site you are used to seeing are suddenly totally different when you log on from a Chinese IP. Not really censorship, just audience targeting. I would recommend a trip to China though. My main take-away is that the people are just about like all the others. Most are decent, some suck, some are great. Very homogenized though, in nine days in Dalian (6 million people) I saw about 10 westerners and they were all from Europe. I saw one group of black people in Beijing. I have never had so many people stare at me in my life, it was like one of those dreams when you suddenly discover everyone in staring because you are naked.

Re:Just got back from a nine day trip... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566405)

I'm suprised about your comment on China being homogenized. Dalian is pretty diverse and a popular place for working laowai.

Last year the net in china for westerners was much different (no wikipedia for example). Things got better leading up to the games, then radically better and I haven't seen any negative changes since (I still took the opportunty to download the wiki database export;)

CNN.com works for me right now, i even have CNN on my tv (not that I watch it). I will regularly read very negative articles about China on western news sites without trouble. I can use tunneling (VPN/SSH) back to australia and move big files without trouble. Tor works okay (but the download page doesn't ;), but i never use it.

The firewall seems to block things sometimes based on a blacklist (url, host, words in url) and sometimes on content (one article on a news site, but the rest of the site will work, or even the content of one frame within a page).

Popular porn sites are blocked (i do look ;) but less popular or obscurely named sites will work (again, individual pages maybe be blocked due to content). P2P ftw btw...

The system varies from city to city, to the point where one city had a kind of 'you've been blocked' landing page complete with cutesy cartoon policemen.

One thing this plug-in wont show is the speed. sites outside of mainland China are generally slow and occasionally unreliable, even for nearby hosts (taipei, HK, tokyo). But domestic chinese sites generally friggin rocket in. Better than local sites when I lived in sydney (haven't tried recently obviously) and better pings to domestic game servers than what I could get in Sydney.

Another killer is bandwidth, for home internet, 1M (or 512k) is pretty much all I can get. Its quite affordable though (delivered here as fiber to the door, but some flavor of VDSL is quite common also - never seen dial up).

The feeling of being stared at disapears after a while, but you're always aware that you're most certainly not a local no matter how comfortably you settle into the surroundings / situation. If you speak chinese, people will still respond in english if they can (or barely can), prices for anything will be higher, and taxi drivers will occasionally try to take you the scenic route.

The main misconception I hear about China you mentioned; People here are people like anywhere else... some awesome, some assholes and everything in between.

Comcast in China? (4, Funny)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 5 years ago | (#25565947)

"It slows down your browsing. It makes some Web sites inaccessible for no discernible reason."

heh, I thought, Comcast was only in Americas.

Re:Comcast in China? (4, Funny)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566455)

The comment is funny, but even for Slashdot the punctuation is awful. you probably mean:

Heh, I thought Comcast was only in the Americas.
or
"Heh", I thought, "Comcast was only in the Americas."
or
Heh, I thought. Comcast was only in the Americas.
or if the separate sentences are consequential:
Heh, I thought; Comcast was only in the Americas.
or use a conjunction:
Heh, I thought and Comcast was only in the Americas.

What were you doing during 7th grade english class?

A hidden chinese asset? (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566029)

With all the hardware and manpower they have available to operate the great Chinese Firewall(tm), I wonder why are not offering it as a internet service.

They could make options oriented to different customers. For example, other authoritarian countries with different censorship requirements, but also children access from schools, public institutions or companies where access to "certain" pages have/must/should be restricted.

They can also offer services through their "Internet commentators," or so-called Fifty Cent Party, to sway public opinion online, much like viral marketing works in the private sector around the world. They could rent that service too. Useful for PR, political campaigns, marketing or anything that has something to do with influencing(manipulating) public opinion in most different directions

They could even offer a free option, with adds, so people can try first. Adds could be used to promote China's world-view/companies/products and tourism :-)

If China wants to make inroads in the service market, it is a good idea to use something already in place that no one else has. I think they really have a hidden unused asset in that "Great China Firewall". They also have a catchy brand name! I hope they have already registered it! ;-)

Use "The Great China Firewall! Milliards of satisfied customers already enjoy it! great and reliable service guaranteed"

Depends... (5, Interesting)

everdown (1396799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566041)

As someone who lives in China and travels extensively within the country, I can tell you that everything depends on the city. Internet is slow generally, but sites that work in Shanghai or Wuhan or don't necessarily work in Beijing or Nanjing. Most every site that I've ever wanted to visit and is not something that would be obviously banned (not hard to guess what these topics might be) has been available. One site I haven't been able to get for whatever reason is the Huffington Post, though I can access cached copies and referenced articles...

Re:Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566431)

Ah, Shanghai, we used to go there to pickup some easy girls and Smoke good opium. The Communists spoiled it all, now all you can do is browse the Internets.

Careful from Add-on updates! (1)

Hemi Rodner (570284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566513)

I ran Firefox under another, limited user, and installed the Firefox add on.
I noticed that after entering any censored item, all my connections further are disconnected.

Anyway, after some playing, and while being under using a Chinese address, Firefox noticed me that there's an add-on update.

I stupidly updated, thinking "great! maybe it'll solve some problems". But the thing is that the add-on updated under the Chinese address! It might have been a fake, tampered update.

I had a paranoia attack and erased the other limited user.

China bashing article for the week (1)

canmaestro (1396863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566611)

here we go with the weekly China bashing article. It's such a shame /. has jumped on the China bashing bandwagon and keeps on publishing ONLY negative articles about China. Shame, shame.

Whoa.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25566829)

I read this and thought, let's Slashdot China!

The internet in China is incredibly frustrating (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566865)

I've just got back from four months living in Shanghai for work. I got to the point where I installed a proxy on a machine in California and used it over the VPN. I'd be sitting at home using Facebook, and after 15 minutes it would get slower and slower, and then start timing out. I'd clear the DNS cache on my Mac, take Firefox off and online, and then it would start working again, for a while. Or maybe not. Websites that were fast at home, could't be accessed from the office in Shanghai, but could be from our office in Hangzhou, and websites I couldn't access at home, I could at work. Sometimes I couldn't access MSDN from work, and contemplated going home to work (until I setup the proxy). I visited Australia and found the internet blazingly fast, even though it was even further away. The internet was totally random and unreliable. It's so good to be back somewhere where the internet works.

Slows down your browsing? (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25566881)

How did they figure the china firewall is the cause for slow browsing? Or maybe it's the fact you and all people using this plugin are funnelling their traffic through a single proxy accross the globe...

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