Is your life over if you don't have a VPN?
'There was a time when you could reasonably get by without a VPN in China. That time is over.' (John Pasden, 2011, May 18 - Sinosplice.)
This hit me as so over the top (sorry John!); I would love to hear what other China residents think about it.
I don't agree .. I have a VPN but haven't used it for months. Seriously, what do you miss out on? There are so many other video options - YouTube doesn't matter in the sense that it is unique - it isn't. Facebook - naah, even my closest and dearest tend to communicate by other means. So I have peek at what people are doing every half year or so - it is not a must have. I kind of missed Web Picasa when it went but there are plenty of other options. I can happily blog elsewhere than Blogger. And the ChinesePod stuff on blocked sites I can happily do without. News sources - I am happy with my current sources. So what do I miss out on?
Note to RJ - it's not about the cash, my VPN is free, and works fine.
chrisMay 18, 2011, 10:51 AM
I'm inclined to agree Bodawei. I finally got a VPN in January this year after more than 4 years without. Yes, it's nice checking out facebook from time to time and knowing I can access other things if I need to. But frankly, aside from cpod, news websites and banking, I don't actually use the internet that much, if I'm honest. Perhaps I'm just a philistine (sp?)!
Hi chris - I am interested in the 'aside from .. banking' comment - do you use a vpn for banking?
I might have misinterpreted you: you mean that you need the Internet for banking, not that you necessarily need a vpn? My question was really about the vpn - I am a bit of an Internet junkie myself, I'm wondering if I spend more of my waking hours on than off, between work and leisure, iPod and laptop.
Hi bodawei, no I don't need vpn for banking. My 'aside' comment above was a more general comment that I simply don't use that many internet sites regardless of vpn or no vpn. However, whilst I don't use that many sites, the sites I do use i do spend a lot of time on, e.g. CP and certain UK newspaper websites. Also, with sites like facebook and youtube, I admittedly did spend a lot of time on them when I was still in UK and they first got popular, but I'm just not that interested anymore - I don't know whether that's because I've just got older, whether the websites themselves have got 'tired' after over half a decade, whether it's because my friends don't use them that much anymore or whatever other reason. I'm sure there are a plethora of other sites out there that would ordinarily be blocked without a VPN, but I just don't know about them either way!
xiaophilMay 19, 2011, 04:51 AM
The connection at my home seems to by hyper-filtered. I cannot get into some basic places such as my bank account. I think over half of the American and other foreign websites I try to go to at home are blocked. It's crazy, so in my case, a vpn is needed just to do some simple but necessary transactions.
Interesting, I have not heard this kind of complaint before, at least to the degree that you say, but I remember a conversation with Johnb about the Internet in Shanghai being below par. And we used to make jokes about changye who seemed have problems accessing Flickr, which the rest of us could access, suggesting that 'filtering' varies from place to place.
Not getting to your bank is weird - what sort of filtering is that I wonder? Bank sites are supported by specific browsers, I'm sure you are aware; my Chinese one only works in IE which is a pain.
Ok, you have given me a valid reason for a vpn; fortunately for me I haven't experienced those problems out here.
johnbMay 20, 2011, 05:48 AM
It certainly depends on the services you use. For me, it's:
- Gmail / GChat (increasingly flaky without VPN)
- Bit.ly (and other short URL providers, largely for social media originated links)
- Tumblr (sometimes ... it's flaky)
- Lots of non-mainland Chinese news sources (Taiwanese media especially is blocked, as it much HK media)
- Thousands of other otherwise not blocked sites whenever they discuss something deemed sensitive (most Western news outlets)