Behind the Great Firewall
This has been a major hassle for me as those sites are otherwise constantly revisited stations on my daily internet wanderings. To post entries to my blog from China, I've had to e-mail them, which has led to formatting problems and precluded pictures. In order to read blogs on Blogger.com, I have had to use
The more techno-literate may have use for Proxy4free.com as well.
A quick sampling turned up other blocked sites:
In Hanoi I didn't have this kind of problem at all. Despite the Vietnamese government being similar to the Chinese one (non-elected, anti-free-speech, nominally Communist, practically Capitalist), I could access the sites I wanted from our hosts' home computer. According to our hostess, Vietnamese internet censorship occurs somewhat haphazardly at the ISP level, which means that some bandwidth providers will let you do whatever you want.
This squares well with our impression that Hanoi, though a much grubbier and less affluent city, is far more aware of the West than skyscraper-studded Hangzhou, where non-salespeople in the street sometimes excitedly yell "Look at the foreigner! HELLO!" when they see me. It very likely has to do with Vietnamese history: a century of French colonial rule, friendly exchange with Soviet Russia, the American occupation, foreign aid in recent decades.
But there may be a scarier explanation. The broadband connection we used in Hanoi is registered to a person working as a consultant for the Swedish foreign aid agency, SIDA. It's entirely possible that this connection has had the censorship machinery selectively turned off. And replaced with a wiretap.[More blog entries about internet, censorship, China, Vietnam; internet, censur, Kina, Vietnam.]