24 August 2011

Bypassing China's Firewall

Yes, and Im going to tell you how. It's not too complicated, but a little computer knowledge helps. The key is to use a secure, encrypted connection, which can be set up using Tor.

Tor is an Onion routing system that allows you to browse the net anonymously and without interception. In Onion routing, data is repeatedly encrypted and then sent through several network nodes called onion routers. Each onion router removes a layer of encryption to uncover routing instructions, and sends the message to the next router where this is repeated. This process makes your web activity completely anonymous and makes it very difficult if not impossible to intercept your data. Sound complicated? Well it is in some respects. You can read more about it here. The reason Im telling you this is because onion encryption can be used to bypass censorship firewalls, including China's.

Before you get too exited, Tor has limitations. Due to the "detour" onion routing makes your data take, your internet speed will be significantly slower. Also, rich web applications such as Java, Flash, ActiveX, RealPlayer, Quicktime, PDF's etc will be disabled. You won't be able to use sites that completely rely on these services such as YouTube.

Here's what you will need to use Tor effectively:

Vidalia Tor Client
Mozilla Firefox
HTTPS Everywhere

All of these are available for all operating systems. It is important that you download these tools before you go to China, as the websites for the Tor Project and the EFF are blocked.

Start up Vidalia, after it connects, start Firefox and toggle Torbutton. Next go to the following address:


If everything is working properly, the page will confirm your connection to the Tor network and you may begin browsing. Other applications that use the internet can also be configured to use Tor, but this requires much more technical skills. The important thing is, you have a browser.

An easier way to encrypt your web browsing is to use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). This encrypts your connection with the website without Tor. I used this trick all the time to visit facebook at school. However, not all websites support HTTPS, but many important ones do such as FacebookWikipedia and Google (websites in the search results my not however). Use the HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extension above to automatically visit sites in HTTPS mode.

Since I do not live in a country with censored internet (yet) I cannot guarantee first hand that either of these will work, but its your best shot.

If Tor is not for you, an alternative way to bypass the firewall is to use a proxy site courtesy of PeaceFire. PeaceFire maintains an e-mail list it sends out weekly of different proxy sites that can be used to bypass the firewall. The proxy site will give you further instructions. You can join the e-mail list here.

Happy Browsing

UPDATE: One reader has commented that Tor is no longer effective against the Chinese fire wall. Im not sure as to what extent this is true, but as he said, a VPN is the most reliable method for bypassing the firewall. Although you will likely have to pay for it.

23 August 2011


Dear Chinese guy

As a fellow Chinese male but living in Canada how do you get your parents off your back about getting married? Every conversation I have with them and each week I have dinner with them they seem to bring up this topic. Or they will ask me to play sports with them and bring along a single girl.

I'm not really interested in getting married yet.


Dear Raymond..

Quite simply you can't, they will consistently pester you about marriage until the day that you get married. My parents pretty much do the above tactics all the time ALL of the freakin' time.

Its not just men that have this problem my sister has a similar problem but it is more intense as she is older.

They try all sorts of things like reverse psychology, about how having children is going to be good for you about being in the in crowd. I don't care about being in the erm in crowd. Or they will have massive dinners and play with other peoples children and hint (untactful). Wouldn't it be nice to have my own grandchildren to play with....

The Chinese parent (doubly so for tiger parents)

"It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are married."

Apparently Indian people and people from Pakistan have it EVEN worse.


Over time TCG has become fairly adept at avoiding the marriage question. Note that these tactics may or may NOT work.

Firstly get a beard. There are women who are Lesbians who get male friends to pretend to be their boy friends, thus deflecting suspicion away from their sexuality. There are still people who care about this apparently.... this will placate them a bit.......

Except you will need to keep this charade up, i.e. you will need to bring them to dinner and they will ask intrusive probing questions. This annoys me greatly and my beards seldom last long. You can go halves with a girlie who is also facing similar grillings from her parents too to keep up the charade. I've known Men in Hong Kong to do this with working girls and it costs them massive amounts of money to hire the girl who also tends to blackmail them too.

This also has the nasty side effect of the question of when are you going to get married persisting still. I mean you're together right why don't you seal the deal and get married. Though this is stunningly effective for a while....

Second - Pretend you are gay, Chinese society is more accepting of LBT types. Its the grandchildren they want... bring home the campest and I mean campest person or leather boy home with you.

This may have the side effect of being disowned and or stabbed in the face by your dad, or they may well be extremely naive and not pick up on the hints. I have a who is gay who is a bit camp. Actually calling him a little camp is like saying Hitler was a bit naughty in WWII.

Thirdly - Beard but break up, and have a nasty break up in front of parents, pretend you are heart broken and so devastated you are not ready for another relationship. Anecdotes of how marriages end horrifically badly (i.e. one person being cleaned out by the other) are extremely useful in this regard.

Again stunningly effective for a short amount of time, but after a while. Hey why don't you come out to play badminton with us... at which you go and there happens to be a single girl there who's parents have bought along to try hitch you up....

Fourthly Nuclear weapon time - So you still get pestered all the time right, and you've tried the above and it has ceased to be effective.... this is a red button moment. I.e. it is a highly risky dangerous strategy. I'm sorry if you find this offensive but there is always the X in the top right corner if you do.

As I have written on here before Chinese people can be incredibly racist fact of life. Since our parents were born around the 40s 50s and 60s and some late ones in the 70s. They all have non liberal attitudes, ok that is a generalisation but Chinese can be terrifically racist* (if you are a laowai go outside a major city in China and it can be very overt). Therefore you exploit this to your advantage. For example all of the places my dad worked were always racist. When black people came into eat they had to pay first. I've seen a few bars in Hong Kong of all places where darker skinned people are asked to pay first while everybody else can stick it on a tab. (though I prefer to pay as I drink as I have run up stunningly big bar tabs).

much like this:

Simply get a non Chinese non white boyfriend/girlfriend and introduce him or her to your parents at dinner. Unless your parents are extremely liberal and open minded their prejudices will often take over. It will be an awkward dinner. At which you announce that you are engaged. Which is like a nuclear strike hitting Beijing, it can go one of two ways. They grumble and disapprove but most definitely will not egg you on to get married. Or like the film Festen (good film) When she brings her Black boyfriend to the party she is taken to one side and they have a talk with her.

When my cousin did this, there was a very awkward silence for a very long time as she did it at a very big gathering. Nasty nasty whispers in Chinese of course (note we in China Chinese whispers are merely called Whispers). And the encouragement to get married all of a sudden completely vanished.

However the I know a nice man/woman you'd like to meet who is better than your current b/g will still occur. As my sister encountered when she was dating an English bloke from London.

Therefore you cannot win ever ever.....

04 August 2011


Dear Chinese guy

Why do Chinese people have no political power in the UK?


Dear Chinese guy

How come casual racism seems almost accepted in British society? Why has it become acceptable? My work colleagues talk about Chinese food as Chinky food.


Dear Kayce/Brian

Its a simple question of numbers and unity. The Chinese population in the UK is somewhere around 600,000 people, which out of about 62 million is absolutely nothing. The fact that we are spread out all over the place unlike Muslims who are concentrated in Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and London. Politicians are focusing their efforts on the bigger shares of the votes. I.e. the natives then the majority groups in their areas. Chinese people are not a majority group anywhere in the UK.

I mean when living in the South West people looked at me as if I were an alien or something.

Therefore since we represent so few votes politicians completely ignore us.

Secondly the lack of unity. I've written before that China is not one country. It is more like the USA - United States. China is similar in structure (if not in politics) in that it is a union of provinces under a sort of federalised centralised government. Its a bit like when I see Americans on their travels, a lot of them don't seem to call themselves Americans. They'll say I'm from Texas or I'm from California or Ohio or something (though this may well just be the lack of interaction than any Representative view).

Therefore while an outsider sees a group of Chinese people as 'Chinese people' They aren't Back in the 70s it was Hakka people Vs Cantonese people. Today its Fujian, Hakka, Hong Kong, Cantonese, Malaysians etc. Although they have commonish roots they are different.

The lack of unity is exacerbated by the fact there is less unity than other communities in other ways and less intermingling. Muslims and Indians have religion and worship to get them to join together and discuss problems they have. They are obliged to attend such forced gatherings while Chinese are not.

The Wai Yin Society in Manchester for instance the attendance is low, very low. You go sit in the waiting area at any Chinese restaurant for tea and only people who know each other talk to each other.

All of the above means there is no unity and no political power and thus we're ignored completely.

Which leads onto Brian's point, because there is no unity there is no pressure to change things. I.e. Chinese communities in general tend not to fight back.

Consider the Islamic community about 20 years ago. When Salmand Rushdie wrote the Satanic verses he had to go in hiding for decades due to the unified death threats against him.

A few years ago there was a play which was considered inflamitory to the Sikh community, they held a massive protest and applied political pressure to get it closed down after a few.


Oriental themed parade.... yellowed up people, coolie hats, fu-manchu costumes, stereotypical BS which doesn't actually exist. Even people pulling their eyes for news paper photos. Even bowing and the stupid Thai hands together praying sort of greeting. TCG does none of those things.

The Chinese community response? Nada nowt nothing, well one strongly worded letter to a shopper newspaper. No outcry, no violence to stop it......... hey nobody complained which means its OK....

For starters the PRC doesn't care about us. (The UK foreign office does semi look after British tourists trapped overseas). Thus there is nobody to challenge such casual racist attitudes. With a less confrontational society we're raised in few people challenge these sorts of things. I don't always challenge such things 100% Sunday for instance on board a small light aircraft somebody made a nasty comment to me. He should have known better as he's an old man. I was so very tempted to start a fist fight on board. He was most surprised when we got to the ground and I told him it wasn't funny and quite offensive.

And thus casual racism is to the natives seen as completely acceptable as apparently 'nobody complains about it'

Still blacking up these days after decades is no longer considered acceptable, maybe by 2030 it will be unacceptable to 'yellow up'