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Ask Slashdot: Ideas and Tools To Get Around the Great Firewall? 218

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fire-extinguisher-of-course dept.
New submitter J0n45 writes "I will soon be traveling to mainland China. While I'm only a tourist, I will still be working freelance for a company back home. I know for a fact that a large amount of the websites I need to have access to on a daily basis for business reasons are censored by the Great Firewall of China. I have been using the Tor Browser for a while now for personal purposes. However Tor has been blocked by China. I was wondering if a personal proxy (connected to a computer back home) would do the trick. Would I be too easily traceable? Basically, I'm wondering if I need to try random public proxies until I find one that works or if there are any other options. What does Slashdot think?"
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Ask Slashdot: Ideas and Tools To Get Around the Great Firewall?

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  • Breaking laws (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mkaks (2738943) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:33PM (#41454133)

    - While I'm only a tourist, I will still be working freelance for a company back home.
    - are censored by the Great Firewall of China

    What does Slashdot think?

    That you are
    1) Breaking immigration laws by working while on a tourist visa.
    2) Breaking laws by trying to get around the web censors and doing something not allowed.

    Honestly, if you are just going to China to break their laws, why not just stay at home? If you still want to continue then don't break immigration and other laws in the country you are visiting. It's not only illegal but greatly distasteful towards the host country. They are welcoming you as a visitor and yet you are just going to be breaking laws.

    • Re:Breaking laws (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow@gmaQUOTEil.com minus punct> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:36PM (#41454189) Homepage
      Can't he just use a corporate-style VPN?

      I was under the impression that China was perfectly willing to let this go so that American business travelers had no trouble doing business with them. Maybe not some "shady" roll your own linux vpn...but some Cisco product? Why not?

      • by evilviper (135110)

        That's the way to go, BUT be sure you have more than one. On multiple occasions, we've lost the VPN connection with our China office.... Couldn't ping our VPN IP address from China, and vice vera... BUT all our other IPs were perfectly reachable. After a few days, everything was back to normal.

        This is all with business IPs on both ends, I have no idea if the Firewall will be more strict with personal internet connections, or dynamic IPs, but I'd want at least a completely redundant backup connection (La

        • by sosume (680416)

          Use a remote desktop of a computer physically located in the US. That way, you can do anything you want without breaking any law.

        • Re:Breaking laws (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Creepy (93888) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:46PM (#41455529) Journal

          Not sure about multiple VPNs, but I have coworkers that were able to connect to my work VPN just fine from their hotels when in China. A proxy would work, as well, but you'd want to use https for an encrypted connection. Either way requires a certificate, and the only free way to do that that I know of is create a self-signed certificate and give your browsers exceptions (I haven't looked into this in years, maybe there are free options).

          Also AFAIK tourist visas don't stop you from doing business at home, you just can't do business in/with the country you are in. If the original poster is correct and I am wrong, I know of hundreds of people that have broken various laws, including me, by replying to business emails on vacation in foreign countries (when you're the first point of contact and nobody else can do what you do, there rarely is a true vacation).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tapspace (2368622)

        Maybe not some "shady" roll your own linux vpn

        I was in China for 10 months, and I used a "shady" roll my own linux vpn (I mean, I didn't roll my own software, I used OpenVPN), and it worked fine. It was faster and cheaper than my friends' solutions.

        Obviously, it's a good idea to have a backup to access the web for debugging (openvpn.net is blocked in China, go figure!). Ixquick.com or Startpage.com are great for a super simple proxy fallback.

      • Maybe not some "shady" roll your own linux vpn...but some Cisco product? Why not?

        It's funny you should say that, but to the Chinese authorities, and to everyone else who's not american, Cisco is now the poster boy [forbes.com] of shadiness.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Errr, so when I'm at a resort in Mexico and feel like cranking out a few lines of code because I actually like my job, I'm breaking the law? That's either messed up or a gross misinterpretation.

      • by Jeng (926980)

        Depends on if you went there to conduct business or not.

        If you went there with the express purpose of conducting business then it is illegal because you obtained a visa under a false pretext.

        No one is going to arrest you for laying around doing nothing on a business visa, but you may run into legal problems if you go do business on a tourist visa.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        Errr, so when I'm at a resort in Mexico and feel like cranking out a few lines of code because I actually like my job, I'm breaking the law? That's either messed up or a gross misinterpretation.

        First, the Mexican's won't care, Ok?

        Second, doing incidental work for your regular job while on vacation isn't against the law in any place I'm aware of. Nobody said you couldn't take a call or answer email while on vacation. But intentionally traveling on a tourist visa with full intent to spend most of your time working amounts to lying on your visa application.

        Interacting with the locals (buying/selling/hiring/or being employed) in such a way that it takes away a local job is what every country is tryin

        • by redmid17 (1217076)
          It would if he weren't being paid by a US-based company for performing work on probably US-based sites. He isn't going to execute any business work for locals.
    • Re:Breaking laws (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Overunderrated (1518503) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:39PM (#41454227)

      Honestly, if you are just going to China to break their laws, why not just stay at home? If you still want to continue then don't break immigration and other laws in the country you are visiting. It's not only illegal but greatly distasteful towards the host country. They are welcoming you as a visitor and yet you are just going to be breaking laws.

      “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
        Martin Luther King Jr.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

          Martin Luther King Jr.

        Ah, a very ironic statement, considering there is hardly anything moral about accessing the internet these days...something tells me this statement was for a far loftier purpose than ensuring that porn habits are fed while traveling.

        • Re:Breaking laws (Score:4, Insightful)

          by causality (777677) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:02PM (#41454675)

          “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

          Martin Luther King Jr.

          Ah, a very ironic statement, considering there is hardly anything moral about accessing the internet these days...something tells me this statement was for a far loftier purpose than ensuring that porn habits are fed while traveling.

          Porn is much, MUCH loftier than the desire to censor it.

      • Re:Breaking laws (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <zalanmeggyesi AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:01PM (#41454649)

        “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

          Martin Luther King Jr.

        And one has a vested interest in remaining under the radar of Chinese law enforcement. Or any other country's law enforcement, for that matter, especially a foreign country's.

        • This! Word of advice for anyone traveling abroad. Smile (fake it if you have too) and say thank you. But whatever you do, don't get on law enforcements shit list for you are a foreigner in foreign land.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If that's the case, then one also has a moral responsibility to liberate those living under unjust laws anywhere, and impose one's own code of "just" laws on other people. There is no moral difference between traveling to another country with the intention of breaking their laws, and invading that country to overthrow the government which imposed those laws - the only difference is one of degree.

        Dubya, is that you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheCarp (96830)

      Irrelevant to the discussion. He wasn't asking if he should do it, or why it would or woul dnot be disrespectful.

      Frankly, I am in the camp who says... if a country doesn't respect free speech, then why respect them at all? Good for him disrespecting them, they don't even respect the free speech rights of their own people...fuck their government.

      • by Bahumat (213955)

        Because that invites reciprocation of that attitude from other countries. Most people tend to get angry when foreigners from anywhere come into their country and intentionally disrespect the local cultural mores and laws.

        I'll give you an easy, hyperbolic example:

        By that same argument, how do you feel about Sudanese refugees performing female genital mutilation just down the street from where you live? How do you feel about them snorting in contempt at you when you show outrage, saying: "If a country doesn't

        • by causality (777677)

          Because that invites reciprocation of that attitude from other countries. Most people tend to get angry when foreigners from anywhere come into their country and intentionally disrespect the local cultural mores and laws.

          I'll give you an easy, hyperbolic example:

          By that same argument, how do you feel about Sudanese refugees performing female genital mutilation just down the street from where you live? How do you feel about them snorting in contempt at you when you show outrage, saying: "If a country doesn't respect my cultural norms, then why respect it at all?"

          Etc. Etc.

          While I don't generally oppose the point you are making (and I agree that the original poster's idea is a bad one), there is a flaw in your illustration.

          Female genital mutilation has a victim. Accessing a forbidden Web site that is censored by insecure governments for political reasons does not. The two crimes are not in the same league. When law enforcement stops the former, they are protecting human rights. When law enforcement stops the latter, they are infringing human rights.

          • When you travel abroad, you shouldn't be breaking the local laws. It's not so much out of respect of the host nation regardless of the legitimacy of the government in question, but rather for your own protection. If you don't wish to risk getting into trouble, I would advise anyone not to travel at all outside their home country.

            If for any reason you don't agree with the host's laws. Too bad. Let the diplomats and politicians work out it. As a civilian, it's not your job so please don't make it so. Again, i

            • by TheCarp (96830)

              > rather for your own protection.

              Exactly.... so its up to you whether you decide to protect yourself in that way or not.

              > Let the diplomats and politicians work out it. As a civilian, it's not your job so please don't make it so

              I don't care for such distinctions. You may consider me a civilian, I consider myself a soldier in the global war for human rights, both here and abroad. Those diplomats are as much the enemy as anyone else, and they do not, in any way, represent my feelings on just about any i

    • As long as you are not telling other Chinese people how to break through the firewall, I doubt that Chinese government will go after you. They do not need to add stress to their relationship with the USA, and they would probably prefer to sneak something onto your laptop so they can get some trade secrets than to stop you from using a corporate VPN. The purpose of the firewall is to control Chinese citizens, not to harass foreigners.
      • by DaMattster (977781) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:13PM (#41454917)

        As long as you are not telling other Chinese people how to break through the firewall, I doubt that Chinese government will go after you. They do not need to add stress to their relationship with the USA, and they would probably prefer to sneak something onto your laptop so they can get some trade secrets than to stop you from using a corporate VPN. The purpose of the firewall is to control Chinese citizens, not to harass foreigners.

        At best this is an assumption you've made. The Chinese will willingly detain, try, and punish any foreigner that they feel poses a threat to state security. Moreover, it is probably the U.S. is more concerned with it's fragile relationship with China. When it feels threatened, the Chinese Communist Party will react and not care one iota about the world's reaction.

    • - While I'm only a tourist, I will still be working freelance for a company back home.

      - are censored by the Great Firewall of China

      What does Slashdot think?

      That you are

      1) Breaking immigration laws by working while on a tourist visa.

      2) Breaking laws by trying to get around the web censors and doing something not allowed.

      Honestly, if you are just going to China to break their laws, why not just stay at home? If you still want to continue then don't break immigration and other laws in the country you are visiting. It's not only illegal but greatly distasteful towards the host country. They are welcoming you as a visitor and yet you are just going to be breaking laws.

      I was under the impression that people doing a bit of remote work for the home office while on vacation was an entirely normal and legal state of affairs(if an unfortunate corruption of genuine vacation time...) If he were doing work for a Chinese outfit, or work in China on behalf of home office, that would be a quite different state of affairs...

      • by Fuzzums (250400)

        I'm under the impression that a vibrator is legal, gay marriage is a right and carrying guns is legal, but I could come up with many more examples of things that are considered normal on one country and are forbidden in another.

        But... When going to Rome, the follow Roman law or don't go to Rome.

    • by racermd (314140)

      It sounds like he's going to be doing freelance work for companies back home while he's visiting China on his own time. This doesn't sound like he's going to China specifically to work there. If he picks up a freelance job from back home, from a company back home, who will pay him back home, who cares what he does with his time in his own hotel room in China? As far as they're concerned, he's simply enjoying his time visiting China.

      That said, I wouldn't want to risk violating Chinese law by trying to get

    • by Spazmania (174582)

      What he said.

      The correct answer to the OP's question is:

      1. Don't plan to work remote while a tourist in China. Treat it the same as you would a trip to a country without readily available communications infrastructure.

      2. Plan any business activities around what's lawful in China. If this makes you less effective, so be it. China's government has determined that they and all business operating within China will pay that cost.

    • by pla (258480)
      I find it simply fascinating how on every tech-oriented blog - And increasingly, even in infotainment news aggregator sites like Slashdot - we have every question met with some form of a moralistic "don't do that".

      If you don't have an answer, don't give one. If you have it - Give it. Save the moralizing for Sunday mornings.

      I don't give two shits if you want to get arrested in China, if you want to run a P2P client on your university's network, if you want to get fired for viewing porn at work. Everyo
    • I don't know anything about immigration laws and censorship laws in China, but about this:

      If you still want to continue then don't break immigration and other laws in the country you are visiting. It's not only illegal but greatly distasteful towards the host country. They are welcoming you as a visitor and yet you are just going to be breaking laws.

      The proper analogy is somebody going to the USA and breaking some copyright laws because he watched some youtube videos and perhaps seeded a few movies on bittorrent... It's "illegal", but hey, everybody does it, and it's part of life.

      I live within driving distance from the Great Firewall (i.e. Hong Kong), and I know many people in China who get on private VPNs or proxies to visit Facebook etc.. The number of locals in

    • 1) Breaking immigration laws by working while on a tourist visa.

      Who says that's breaking the immigration law? Foreigners with "L" tourist visas inside Mainland China can certainly earn income outside of Mainland China if they so desire. They would not be breaking any laws.

      Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so take my words with a grain of salt.

    • I have to agree, you obviously are aware that you need to bypass the firewall....
      if you need to send sensitive information, then use a regular email account but encrypted files...
      if you just need access to a website that has your p0rn stash and is blocked, just wait till you get home.

      In case you are not aware, Chinese Law is very severe, and having a non english court appearance
      could make it difficult for you to know you are being properly represented.

  • Let's be real - China is a Communist dictatorship, period. Yes, they furnish most of our consumer (and soon industrial) products, but at the end of the day they are a totalitarian dictatorship and if you plan on going there, keep that foremost in your mind. Unlike even the RIAA, they will shoot you dead if you screw with them.
    • More like an oligarchy.
    • Unlike even the RIAA, they will shoot you dead if you screw with them.

      Yet.

    • by zethreal (982453)
      Exactly this. I have a relative that went there on vacation with 20 or so friends. They were walking around late in the evening & turned down a "wrong street" they were all arrested & held for no reason for several days. My relative & his friends think that the only reason they were released was because it was such a large group. When they were released, they were told to never travel without a guide again & make sure they didn't go down that road.
    • Re:Sure - don't go (Score:5, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:44PM (#41454363)

      Let's be real - China is a Communist dictatorship, period.

      Well, let's be real, then. The Chinese Communist Party is "communist" in the same way the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is "democratic".

      • by osu-neko (2604)

        Well, let's be real, then. The Chinese Communist Party is "communist" in the same way the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is "democratic".

        I should clarify, in both cases, it's a word they use for propaganda purposes, not a reflection of their actual ideology.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Unlike even the RIAA, they will shoot you dead if you screw with them.

      If OP is an American, not likely, if only because they don't want to annoy the US government. Now, if he's from, say, Nepal, all bets are off.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Nonsense. China is a fascist oligarchy. Fascist in the Mussolini sense of merged state and corporate power, as well as the lack of any individual rights. And an oligarchy, in that it's ruled by a party and not an individual.

  • Sounds like the Great Firewall engineers are looking for some free security pointers from the rest of the world. Any idea we come up with will be blocked before this schmuck gets over there.

    But seriously, you should just take a real vacation and not work. Or cancel the vacation and stay at home, working. Better to play it safe and not end up in Chinese gulag for the next 30 years.

  • SSH (Score:4, Informative)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:39PM (#41454239)
    I hear that the Chinese won't stop you from SSHing to a system outside of the country. You can turn SSH into an ad-hoc VPN if you'd like:

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SSH_VPN [ubuntu.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      About two years ago I had a friend that was in China for a length of time (6 months). I set them up with an SSH account on my home system which they were able to use as a SOCKS proxy using PuTTY. You can even download PuTTY from within China.

    • by wurp (51446)

      I run my ssh service on port 443 to get through more firewalls. I believe they could check traffic patterns to see that it isn't really https, but I'm not sure they do.

  • I am by no means an expert in this but the question has been asked before here and I agreed with the overall sentiment: Don't break the law.

    The Chinese government will ensure that you regret being caught.

    • I am by no means an expert in this but the question has been asked before here and I agreed with the overall sentiment: Don't break the law.

      The Chinese government will ensure that you regret being caught.

      Unless a great deal goes on under the radar, team China appears to have minimal interest in interfering with the VPNs of foreign business travelers. They occasionally crack down on somebody as part of a quasi-mercantilist spat between a local company and a foreign competitor, or to inform a news entity that it really should be self-policing a bit harder, and industrial espionage shenanigans can't be ruled out; but such travellers tend not to be politically threatening and so not very interesting.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:40PM (#41454271)

    And although I will be going as a tourist, I still need to be able to regularly import large quantities of heroin and cocaine. However, this isn't allowed according to US law, so can anyone suggest how I can circumvent this law largely because I don't accept it and want to carry on with my massive heroin and cocaine habits while there...

    Local laws, whether you believe they are right or not, follow them if you want to stay out of jail.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      And although I will be going as a tourist, I still need to be able to regularly import large quantities of heroin and cocaine. However, this isn't allowed according to US law, so can anyone suggest how I can circumvent this law largely because I don't accept it and want to carry on with my massive heroin and cocaine habits while there...

      I can't help you with large quantities, but otherwise I recommend FedEx.

    • And although I will be going as a tourist, I still need to be able to regularly import large quantities of heroin and cocaine

      Charter private jets, then you will not have to deal with airport security.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by godless dave (844089)
      Right, because importing hard drugs is morally equivalent to circumventing censorship.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192)

        Yes, yes it is. The war on drugs is a war on personal freedom, just like any censorship regime.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:08PM (#41454809)
        In fact, the war on drugs is more ethically questionable than censorship by a government.
      • Who gives a fuck about morals, it's the local law - follow it or don't be all that upset if you end up doing some jail time.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          You could say the same about the Mafia. Shouldn't an honest businessman be upset that he has to pay protection money or get his shop torched? By the same token, shouldn't a free individual be upset that he has to watch what goes into or out of his mouth or end up in jail?

          You're right, as a practical matter imprisonment is a forseeable consequence of breaking the law. But that's no reason not to get upset that the laws are unjust.

    • And although I will be going as a tourist, I still need to be able to regularly import large quantities of heroin and cocaine. However, this isn't allowed according to US law, so can anyone suggest how I can circumvent this law largely because I don't accept it and want to carry on with my massive heroin and cocaine habits while there...

      No worries, mate, we import shitloads of that stuff from Mexico daily, no need to depend on your own supply! Just head down to the nearest barrio and ask for Jose, he's got your hookup.

  • by JimMcc (31079) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:42PM (#41454295) Homepage

    I don't know the legal issues at hand, nor do I know the laws of China, but if what you are planing to do is a violation of those laws you should be prepared for an extended stay as a guest of the Chinese government.

    While you might not believe that what they do is correct, moral, or defensible, it is non the less their country. Just as you would expect foreign visitors to your own country to respect the local laws, you should respect the laws of a country that you visit. If you find the laws so personally distasteful that can not abide by them, don't go.

  • Yeah I know you're going to think I'm a tinfoil hat guy but basically anything you bring to China should be considered as compromised. iPod, tablet, computer, phone, etc. If you don't use burners, you should definitely at the very least wipe them and start over when you get back into the states. Anything you leave alone in your hotel room probably won't be left alone. Put removable tape over your cameras on these devices.

    Also, if you're going to encrypt your traffic, keep in mind that most encrypti
    • This. Nothing else needs to be said.

      Well, one more thing:

      If you don't use burners, you should definitely at the very least wipe them and start over when you get back into the states.

      I'd recommend backing up then wiping before heading to the ol' PRC as well - better safe than sorry.

  • The Parking Garage (Score:3, Informative)

    by FormulaTroll (983794) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:43PM (#41454315) Homepage
    Personal viewpoints on censorship aside, I'd be hesitant to break any Chinese laws while in China. Why, my dad just returned from a 14-year stint in a red Chinese prison...
    • by Jeng (926980)

      Why, my dad just returned from a 14-year stint in a red Chinese prison...

      Mind providing more details regarding that?

      • by Hatta (162192)

        It's a Seinfeld [stanus.net] reference. A post about nothing.

        • by Jeng (926980)

          Googled Parking Garage before posting, but the wiki on it just mentioned them being lost in a parking garage and how unusual it was since the episode did not take place in the apartment.

          Nothing about people in chinese prisons.

          Never did watch the series so /woosh

  • Use a VPN service. I've used a corporate VPN and one based out of India (to avoid U.S.-centric blocking issues) called SwitchVPN. While they both worked fine, this was a year ago. The best thing to do is look at the current VPN companies and see who is being blocked today and why. If several from one country are getting blocked, choose one based out of a different country that doesn't have close ties with that country. It changes all the time, but it doesn't turn on a dime. It seems like the blocking
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Post this question at one of the many expat forums catering to those of us (well into the high 6 figures) who live in China.

    What we'll tell you:
    1) Sign up for a VPN before you get here.
    2) Profit.

    It really is that easy. Oh, and the bit about what you are doing being legal or not? here in China there's what's legal, and then there's what you are allowed to do. Sometimes they are even the same thing.

  • by DontScotty (978874) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:44PM (#41454351) Homepage Journal

    visitors arrested for circumventing china firewall

    oh, I guess there are no results.

    Go right ahead!!

    (IANAL, URIDIOT)

  • How long are you going to be there for? Because unless it's months and months, I would urge you to sort out your business affairs in advance and just not bother trying anything "clever" while you're out there. Because believe me, a bit of business inconvenience back home is nothing next to the world of hurt you will inflict upon yourself (albeit with some helpful assistance from others and their nice electrodes) in the admittedly fairly unlikely (but by no means impossible) scenario that you piss off the se

    • by Jeng (926980)

      But I don't plot and scheme for how I can drive at UK speeds - I follow the US speed limits

      Why follow the US speed limits?

      It's not like we do. There are a few states that you can maintain your speed over 100mph and still just be keeping up with traffic.

      I recommend a good radar detector and a good map (the closer to civilization you get the slower you go).

      The reason for the low speed limits is probably linked to our laughable requirements for getting a drivers license so just stay away from the other cars as much as possible.

      • by xaxa (988988)

        People in the UK drive faster and more aggressively than those in the US on similar roads -- bear in mind that many roads in the UK are narrower and bendier (although the surface is often better). It's not so much driving at 80mph in a 70mph limit on the freeway/motorway, it's that the twisty British road has a 60mph limit and people drive that fast.

        Also, in the UK "Stop" signs are extremely rare, which means drivers aren't used to stopping at every junction.

  • Tor was blocked by China. They've since added bridges [torproject.org] intended to bypass the firewall. It's always been a cat and mouse game with China. Always will be. But right now, Tor works in China. Tomorrow, who knows.

    • by causality (777677)

      Tor was blocked by China. They've since added bridges [torproject.org] intended to bypass the firewall. It's always been a cat and mouse game with China. Always will be. But right now, Tor works in China. Tomorrow, who knows.

      The scary part is that they may intentionally allow it (after a token cat & mouse game) in order to perform ISP-wide deep packet inspection. Then they find out who's using Tor, assume they're trying to bypass censorship, and charge them with crimes.

      • The scary part is that they may intentionally allow it (after a token cat & mouse game) in order to perform ISP-wide deep packet inspection. Then they find out who's using Tor, assume they're trying to bypass censorship, and charge them with crimes.

        Always possible. Tor is a way of creating anonymity at the destination site. It wasn't designed to disguise its use. To do that, you'll need something more sophisticated and/or less popular. Personally, I'd use a high volume server that typically delivers binary data on a proprietary encrypted protocol, such as an MMO/gaming server. Then I'd use that as a proxy to tunnel my traffic through and rate limit it to be similar to the rate of other traffic to/from the server. Singular solution, nobody else knows a

    • China does not want to keep Tor blocked eternally. They don't want people talking to each other about losing access to Tor; that would just inflate the number of Tor users in the country (see, for example, the increase in Tor use following Tor being blocked). The Chinese government blocks Tor when there is big news that they want to conceal until they get their own propaganda out. They keep techniques of blocking Tor on hand for just such an occasion.
  • Set up your own VPN stateside, and work from there.

    I think its the only real legimate way.

    Using personal identifiable information through TOR to clearnet is a horrible idea, because of mallaicious exit nodes. TOR is great for anonymous browsing and research.

    Setting up your own VPN stateside you exit to clearnet on a network you know is friendly. I think the chineese government will be less likely to mess with you this way. Given that many companies use VPNs this way, its should be very easy to explain this
  • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:00PM (#41454635)

    I was in China last month and I just set up an OpenVPN server on my home machine and connected to that with no problems. It's noticeably slower, but worked just fine.

    Note that it makes sense to use OpenVPN from just about anywhere.

  • Knowingly, willingly, and recklessly violating the law in any foreign country is not a good idea, period. It is well known that China does not have the same due process laws and criminal procedure of the United States. You could be charged with a capital offense such as spying and there is very little anyone can do to help you. Your best bet is to take a vacation from work and enjoy your trip. That much said you could look at a tunneling service such as tunnelr [tunnelr.com] which uses OpenVPN to encrypt your traffic
  • by nhtshot (198470) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:07PM (#41454789) Homepage

    I used overplay.net's commercial OpenVPN. There's several competing services specifically tailored to bypassing the great firewall. Overplay in particular has a huge list of servers in different countries. Occasionally one would get blocked, but one of the others would always work.

    Best $10/month I spent while I was there.

    Regarding the locals laws, etc.. it's a definite gray area. The laws don't say you're not allowed to post or view certain things. The laws just say that the government is allowed to "normalize" (filter/censor).

    I used a VPN for years and registered for my internet account using my passport. They knew who I was and could obviously see the VPN traffic. I never heard a word from anybody about it.

  • Do we really need all of these replies discussing the legality/morality? We get the point -- you're all a bunch of stand-up citizens.
  • Where is this recent wave of Sinophelia coming from? Why would you want to go to that cesspool of human rights abuses?

    • Because of the millions and millions of ordinary, wonderful people there? The millenia of art and poetry it has produced? The fascinating urban and rural landscapes? The fantastic cuisine? To learn something about a country that is still largely isolated? Because you want to do something to overcome the human rights abuses? Or just because you're a curious person and not a xenophobe. Or simply because opportunity has knocked. I can think of few places in the world I wouldn't visit if I had the opportunity.
    • Because it's a learning experience. In the case of an American, it's a first hand lesson of what happens when you give way to absolute authoritarian control. It also makes you feel really sorry for the SOBs and can only wish they wake up from their living nightmare. And in time, perhaps they will. All you can do in the mean time is show your support for a better life along with some enlightenment for those who are willing to listen.

  • I think its interesting that 90% of the comments are that its illegal to work on a tourist visa so a VPN back home is illegal.
    In a minute or two I couldn't find the relevant legal defs for China, and that's all that really matters.

    But in general, the extreme simplification has nothing to do with the claim.
    Generally a business visa means you're there doing commerce with a local while not employed by a local... signing contracts, sales visits, demos. Unless your VPN back home is to download the sales pitch p

  • Where are those brave folks, who'd say: Nope, if you're not "Free," then you don't get Me!
    If -enough- folks made it -clear- that they won't support restrictions, just maybe it may help.

    Another thought I had was: These "Help my data jump over the Great Firewall" articles
    -may- be "plants" to help draw out any remaining workarounds to the latest version of
    Great Firewall controls.

    By answering, we may by listing any of the remaining workarounds, we're helping the ones,
    who maintain TGF to close yet another door..

  • You obviously don't like the Great Firewall, and presumably don't support China's totalitarian government. So, don't support China's economy and government by visiting China.

  • And hope you don't get caught and sent to prison.

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue

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