by thehumanaught

I went to the supermarket today, but was blocked at the entrance by some dude checking his receipt and yelling at someone on his phone. Shrugged it off. Grabbed my gear and headed for the bus stop, but was blocked by some old lady super excited to bear witness to China’s mass-transit system in motion. Shrugged it off.

On the bus, we headed away from the bus stop but were blocked by a black sedan idling the world’s resources away in air conditioned arrogance. I shrugged it off. Arrived at my stop and pushed to the back of the bus to get off – blocked, blocked, blocked. Fell out the back door into an e-bike blocking the exit. Finally got home, hit the washroom to blow the China blocking my nose. Threw the tissue in the toilet, blocked.

Sat down at my computer to relax and catch up on what’s happening online: (blocked), (blocked), (blocked), (blocked), (blocked), (blocked), (blocked), (blocked), (blocked), Flickr (partially-blocked), (partially-blocked).

Exchange of ideas (blocked), impartial and freely critical media (blocked), creative development (blocked), self-empowerment (blocked), humanitarianism (partially-blocked), acceptance of China as a forward-looking developed nation on the global stage (blocked), national Chinese pride and self-respect (blocked).

What am I missing?


  1. At least the technical stuff can be unblocked, as most of us know how to do already.

    As for the inconsiderate physical blocking… um, sharper elbows, perhaps?

  2. Why is it so bad still on the net?
    In my city they keep blocking places where we can cross the roads with new barricades…very annoying!

  3. dear ryan, since today you can add facebook.
    Ch.. is rising…downwards. where is the airport? happy us.

  4. Arg, yeah I noticed that Facebook thing too – sigh.

    @Jakob: No kidding eh? I will say though that I’m sure none of us would live here if it was truly painful. We laowai bitch a lot, and perhaps me more than most, but I do love the country. The difficult bits just make it all the more interesting.

    But that gushing in the paragraph above does NOT include these f’ing blocks – that’s just retarded with a capital PRC.

  5. Half-way into your post I sensed a Falling Down moment coming up and prepared to reply with a link to the scene where Michael Douglas snaps, but of course, YouTube is ******* so you’ll have to rely on your memory to picture the escalating distress in Michael Douglas as he yet again finds himself ******* in LA traffic… Here’s a teaser (not blocked):

  6. Welcome to China !! As long as you do what you are told, you can do anything !!! When you are told to keep quiet, and cover your ears, just follow orders and you will be in paradise.

  7. @Elisa: I use the SSL version of the WiTopia VPN that we have an ad for in the site’s sidebar and there isn’t a single site I can’t reach – no matter what block.

    I have heard that their cheaper service can get blocked with certain types of blocks, but the SSL service is pretty solid. And decently fast. I can watch YouTube videos here in China faster with the VPN on then I could when I didn’t have it on (and it wasn’t blocked, obviously).

  8. Good to hear. I put Witopia’s service on my wedding registry in preparation for my move to China next year… 🙂

  9. I have Witopia VPN …. facebook is still blocked. So was google last week. It is the SSL VPN too …..

  10. @Yokie – I’m not sure what you’re doing wrong, but I’m sitting in China with my Witopia PersonalVPN SSL service activated and looking at Facebook right now.

    Also had no problem accessing Google last week when it was blocked without a VPN. You’re sure you have the PersonalVPN SSL and not the slightly less expensive PersonalVPN PPTP service?

  11. @Mark: Too true.

    @Chris: Well, at the very least we can still say “welcome” on here without blocking anything — Welcome to China!

  12. More regarding Facebook blockage: If you’re using Witopia on a Mac. Click on the Tunnelblick icon and select “details”. Make sure “set nameserver” is selected before you connect. That worked for me and now I am Face-unblocked!

  13. Very odd. I am sure my w1top1a is the SSL …. a friend in Guangzhou also used the SSL version … neither could access FB using w1top1a last week ….

    I tried today and it worked for about 10 minutes …. then lost access again.

  14. Sorry to turn this into a tech forum, but the blocking of Facebook was the final internet censorship straw for me, so I just went and bought and installed the SSL version of the WiTopia VPN. But alas, I can still not get to Facebook, despite the WiTopia VPN apparently working correctly (e.g. google thinks I’m in the UK).

    I’m in Shenzhen. Maybe its a Guangdong thing… Perhaps someone more tech savvy then me knows what is going on… 🙁

  15. @Stang: Tech questions about WiTopia are probably better directed towards the company. However, have you tried a different gateway? I was on Facebook a couple hours ago and it was loading fast and fine using the Los Angeles gateway. I think the West Coast USA Gateways are better, as I believe they’re a bit faster.

    Let us know if you find a solution.

  16. I just got it working. I can use Facebook. I had to manually assign the DNS for my ISP connection to the WiTopia DNS. I’m finding it painfully slow though. Its definitey only something I will turn on when I need to view a blocked site.

    Great site btw. Very helpful. I’m relatively new to China and only discovered the site yesterday while googling for a solution to my Internet problems.

  17. I have the PPTP WiTopia, and China is very effective at figuring out our IP address and blocking it. Oh well. At least Twitter is still working through proxies.

    I liked this post very much, perfectly captures the mounting frustration with everything being BLOCKED.

  18. with witopia, use SSL service with California gateways with witopia dns servers set manually and will work fine and fast.

  19. Ryan, can I buy the personalVPN™ – SSL (openVPN) here in China? if I can, please tell me where!!! and if I can’t how did you buy it? Thanks you mate…

  20. Ryan, can I buy the personalVPN™ – SSL (openVPN) here in China? if I can, please tell me where!!! and if I can’t how did you buy it? Thank you mate…

  21. @Charles: I don’t really understand what you’re asking by “here in China”. If you’re looking to purchase a packaged product from a shop here in China called “personalVPN”, then no, you can’t.

    A VPN is a service you register for and pay a yearly subscription fee. You need to download a bit of software after registering to connect to the service, but you’re paying for a service, not a product.

    To do so, scroll up to the bottom of the right-hand sidebar on this page and you’ll see a big square ad that starts “sick of not being able to access any Web site, any time?” — that will lead you to WiTopia’s site (and you’ll be supporting Lost Laowai at no extra cost).

    From there it’s as simple as picking the package you want (SSL) and paying via your regular litany of online methods (credit card, paypal, etc.).

  22. Pingback: Dream Out Loud » Blog Archive » Wondering about China today

  23. @Bill, Ryan: I use Witopia but yes, FB still seems blocked (how to they do THAT???). You mention “with witopia dns servers set manually” – well, how do I do that…?

    Best, N.

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