It seems that only after living in China for an extended period of time has the internet censorship in China begun to affect my way of living. Personally, I rarely use Facebook, Blogger, MySpace or any other form of recent years’ social media, so my initial arrival in China was quite smooth. Many expats every year are disheartened by their refused access to these sites. It seems that coming to China not only challenges Westerners to accept a new culture and a new way of living, but also challenges them to give up some of the every-day things from back home.When I first arrived in China, I just couldn’t understand how not being able to access Facebook was an issue. I had never used it, and didn’t care to, but to ninety percent of my colleagues, roommates, and friends, this was a major issue which was discussed frequently. Internet censorship in China had barely affected me and I simply wrote them off as being unable to adapt to their new environment.However, after three years of maintaining this type of attitude, the expat-specific issues of internet censorship in China have finally caught up with me. Because of my recent interest in internet marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation), article marketing and other forms online business, I’ve begun to open the scale of my internet activity to a much broader platform and have run smack into The Great Firewall of China.Not only are most forms of social media and blogging blocked, but it seems that China’s firewall blocks web sites for no reason at all. At times sites will be accessible and after two weeks they’ll be blocked, only to be unblocked later. I recently created five new WordPress sites with Fat Cow hosting service that have been blocked, even though their content has nothing to do with China or other “sensitive” information. I’m unable to do three consecutive searches on Google without being blocked from the search engine for about two minutes, and I’ve discovered that some web sites can actually give me “DNS poisoning” which can result in my being blocked from sites which are normally accessible.To make things worse, there is almost nothing that can be done. My hosting service can only send me automated responses about not being able to control China’s firewall. Online courses which have embedded YouTube videos can only return my payments. Furthermore, there’s nothing that the Chinese ISPs are able or willing to do. A VPN (virtual private network) is an option for some expats who choose to do battle with internet censorship in China but these services are not guaranteed to work forever and rumours are that one day these too will be blocked.
internet censorship, china, google, facebook, the great wall, vpn, internet security,