The Great Firewall of China
It hasn’t been around for nearly as long as the Great Wall of China, but the infamous “Great Firewall of China,” as it has come to be known, has been blocking controversial websites for years. Website restrictions have been relaxed in recent months as part of an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), making some previously blocked websites now accessible. You can now access most English language content on Wikipedia, and every international news outlet’s website I’ve visited has been up and running. The one web genre that remains blacklisted is that of blogs, and my Beijing Olympics blog is no exception. I’ve been able to access the page required to post, thank goodness, but the lovely presentation you see here renders a “server not responding” message from within China. If you plan to blog while in Beijing, avoid using hosted blogs such as TypePad and WordPress -- consider hosting the blog on your own server instead. Registering with Blogger.com is another option, as the site is
currently accessible from within China.
I don’t think I could have made it through the past two weeks without the ability to read my own blog (and your comments), so luckily I found a little loophole that enables the blog to load. I’ve been conflicted about whether or not to post instructions for accessing this blog (and others) from within China, so I won’t go into much detail, but as you won’t be reading this unless you’re outside the country or have found a loophole of your own, I think that no harm can be done by sharing my little trick.
For staff photographers and other corporate types, your corporate VPN (Virtual Private Network) should be accessible from within China. Accessing blocked sites is as simple as connecting to your VPN and surfing the web. If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, VPN is likely not an option -- use a proxy website (BlockingBuster worked well for me) to access this blog from China. If at all possible, talk with your IT department about VPN access, as this not only enables limitless access to the web, but all web sites seem to load faster while connected. VPN also adds another level of encryption, which comes in handy when using public networks.