13 January 2010

How Solid is the Great Firewall of China?

Here's the best description I've read of the situation:

Anybody inside China who really wants to get to Google.com -- or BBC or whatever site may be blocked for the moment -- can still do so easily, by using a proxy server or buying (for under $1 per week) a VPN service. Details here. For the vast majority of Chinese users, it's not worth going to that cost or bother, since so much material is still available in Chinese from authorized sites. That has been the genius, so far, of the Chinese "Great Firewall" censorship system: it allows easy loopholes for anyone who might get really upset, but it effectively keeps most Chinese Internet users away from unauthorized material.

That seems an incredibly important fact to keep in mind over the Google/China business. Talking of which, the above comes from a typically sane post from James Fallows on the subject: well worth reading.

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