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China The Internet Communications Network Privacy Security

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Way To Experience the Chinese Internet From Outside? (fffff.at) 93

dryriver writes: In 2008, a bunch of crafty developers created a Firefox plugin called China Channel. It apparently allowed you to connect to a proxy server in China, and experience the -- heavily censored and filtered -- internet as Chinese citizens experienced it back then. The nearly decade old plugin doesn't seem to work anymore. My modern Firefox browser couldn't install it. So the question: is there a way to surf the internet as if you were inside China, and experience for yourself how much of the experience is censored or filtered? It would be interesting to experience firsthand what the Great Firewall of China lets you see of the free world and internet as we know it in 2017, and what it does not.
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Ask Slashdot: Is There a Way To Experience the Chinese Internet From Outside?

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  • .....preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.
  • Just try one of the nations that keep all internet data for a few years.
    Keeping every site visited and isp accounts linked.
    At any time over many months a gov or trusted contractor can go back and find any or all users, their IM's, phone calls, forum use or web sites visited.
    The next step will be the file names downloaded, language used in search terms and a demand for a gov crypto key for big brand search sites and telcos.
    We can see SJW trying to alter search results just like China too.
  • Modify your hosts file so everything in the block list points to 0.0.0.0
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Enjoy your visit! Now don't let it happen to your country.

  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:12PM (#54782313)

    Internal Chinese internet is extremely fast, you can easily stream 4K video, search results load instantly. The majority of people in China think the internet is very good. Now when it comes to foreign websites or almost all websites outside of china without a vpn it is nightmarishly slow. Even non blocked websites run slowly, especially at peak times of the day when people are using the contested international links. Local torrents including every tv show / movie will download in a few minutes even if they are 6gb or more

    Blocked websites are not particularly interesting you simply get a "the website unexpectedly disconnected" message or something similar as the GFW computers send a disconnection request.

    The good side of things is that 100mb down/4mb up costs 1400rmb per year (200 usd) and if your in shanghai they've started rolling out gigabit internet. Makes life good for downloading torrents.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

      by lkcl ( 517947 ) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @02:12AM (#54784043) Homepage

      the "fast" websites you're referring to are things like the universities, and the "big commercial" websites. things that the majority of smartphone-addicted chinese citizens use every waking moment of their lives. things like wechat and other companies. wechat *has* to be fast because it's now used pretty much everywhere, for paying for everything from bills to groceries. the average medium-sized business however is still stuck with ridiculously-slow internet access. component suppliers in shenzhen simply cannot tolerate maintaining a decent web site because it's so slow that they just don't perceive there to be any benefit at all in doing so. i uploaded a stack of datasheets to my server on behalf of one of my suppliers, because for them to do it the speed would be so ridiculously slow they might as well not bother, and to just email them to clients on request: it's quicker and more reliable. note that's CHINESE clients.

      some insight:

      https://bugs.chromium.org/p/ch... [chromium.org]

      this gives you an idea of what it's like to try to browse websites. literally every single problem that you've ever encountered arbitrarily and very very occasionally, perhaps maybe once every two to twelve months if that: HTTPS errors, socket errors, timeout errors at the network layer, timeout errors at the SSL layer, SSL certificate errors, cache inconsistency errors - LITERALLY every single possible network-related error - occurred on a regular and unending excruciatingly monotonous basis.

      trying to log in to https accounts.google.com just to enable IMAP took me TWO HOURS and over TWENTY refresh attempts. eventually enough got into the browser cache for it to take ONLY five minutes for the page to load... but the AJAX-controlled radio button refused to update properly, so i had to repeat the process. offlineimap (and running cyrus imap server *on my laptop*) was the only way to gain access to the 50,000 emails in my gmail inbox. it took five days to sync them all down.

      the chromium team have accidentally marked this bugreport as "related to and problem is directly caused by VPN" but it's not. you can emulate this behaviour (answering the OP's question) by setting up a network filter (which you can do with a userspace tun/tap program written e.g. in python) that randomly and arbitrarily drops between 20 and 80% of packets, and limits the traffic rate to between 15 and SIX kilobytes per second. also you should add huge packet latency as an option: up to around 20 seconds should do the trick.

      access to the UK is particularly bad (15k/sec); access to the USA is slightly better (around 70k/sec). during that massive DDOS attack (i happened to be in shenzhen at the time) all speeds dropped to around 5-10k/sec and packet loss was consistently around 80% (i run a constant "ping" in a window).

      the worst latency i saw on openvpn was around 120 seconds, when using TCP instead of UDP. yes you read that right: not 120 MILLI-seconds - one hundred and twenty SECONDS. the connection was so bad that the bandwidth throttling option of openvpn simply did not work. i had to constantly change from TCP to UDP and back, and to regularly change the port number of the VPN.

      as i have a server with a fixed IP address i gave serious consideration to writing my own userspace traffic proxy/router - not even a VPN, just a NAT/forwarding service - that would automatically make multiple connections over an arbitrary and random series of TCP and UDP connections, XOR something over the top of every packet, add a sequence number in front of the packet (exactly like TCP) and then reassemble the stream in-order at the other end of the connection.

      basically with all my contacts being outside of china, there was absolutely no way that i could conduct business in china. every single software developer that i met INCLUDING CHINESE NATIONAL CITIZENS had a VPN connection. every foreigner trying to do business had a VPN connection. every tourist th

      • trying to log in to https accounts.google.com just to enable IMAP took me TWO HOURS and over TWENTY refresh attempts. eventually enough got into the browser cache for it to take ONLY five minutes for the page to load... but the AJAX-controlled radio button refused to update properly, so i had to repeat the process.

        I sometimes have problems like this even in the states due to the way G+ (and other complex sites like Fb) are architected. If you include a script in a page and it doesn't load then the page just won't work correctly. And loading one page can involve loading dozens of scripts, from a handful of sites. If any of them have a problem then you can have basically any kind of browser problem possible. This is possible even with simple pages. Ever since Slashdot went to https, when my internet connection is heavi

        • by lkcl ( 517947 )

          awesome, that's really useful to know, and i've cross-referenced it on the bugreport. thank you.

    • Your problem are "dependencies", like the stupid "Like" buttons you find on pretty much every website nowadays, or javascript crap loaded from elsewhere.

      tip 1: get a custom hosts file. Some low-risk websites are just "blocked" by messing with DNS entries. This will make some dependencies load rather than time out.
      tip 2: lower your browser's timeouts. It will give up sooner trying to load Facebook's like button, and overall page load times will improve.
      tip 3: get a download accelerator. Those make a huge dif

  • I lived there from 2011 to 2016. You really, really don't want that experience. Even with a VPN it sucked, because half the time the VPN wouldn't work. It's not just that Google is blocked; it's that Google CDN that a lot of sites use is blocked.

  • There are list of Chinese proxy servers on line. One is http://cn-proxy.com/ [cn-proxy.com] You can get it in English by using Google Translate https://translate.google.com/t... [google.com]
  • If your current version of firefox won't install the plugin, then install an older version of firefox.
  • by shashindk ( 5017245 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:53PM (#54782497)
    Currently living in China as an expat and it's surprisingly easy to live with the level of censorship in place here. As mentioned by another, Google CDN is blocked which makes some sites inaccessible. The only google related service I've found to work here is translate.google.cn. The most annoying is aspect is not being able to search for things via Google, but having to rely on Bing or other accessible search engines. Almost all mainstream western social media are blocked, with the exception of LinkedIn which works without any issues. Non-western sites like vk.com seem to work fine. Most international messaging apps are also blocked in China, which isn't much of an issue since everyone here uses WeChat (or Weixin in Chinese) which serves not just as a messaging app and micro blogging service but also as a mobile payment platform with a plethora of integrated serves such as paying your utility bills, ordering taxis, buying train and flight tickets, booking hotels, etc. once you link a Chinese debit or credit card. It also integrates the option to have membership cards and related benefits linked to your WeChat account. That coupled with Skype for work-related video calls should cover most people's needs when here. Some news media (mainly American ones) such as bloomberg, wall street journal and the economist are blocked, while others like financial times, usa today, the washington post and los angeles times works fine. In the cases where you do run into issues, VPN services like ExpressVPN and Astrill VPN does the trick. Just make sure to get them before entering the country. Alternatively get the ExpressVPN plug-in for Chrome if that can cover your needs.
    • Currently living in China as an expat and it's surprisingly easy to live with the level of censorship in place here......... Almost all mainstream western social media are blocked

      Be honest.....that's actually super annoying.

      • Currently living in China as an expat and it's surprisingly easy to live with the level of censorship in place here......... Almost all mainstream western social media are blocked

        Be honest.....that's actually super annoying.

        Actually, its not. Unless you're a Facebook addicted teenager it really isn't a big deal. I can easily kept contact with my family, friends and co-workers outside of China using email, skype, wechat and iMessage (since all company phones are iPhones), which is honestly the most important thing. Cutting back on social media hasn't been a horrible thing either. After having been here for a year now, I've found myself having a lot more time and I don't miss scrolling through the endless feeds of largely unimpo

    • The problem aren't just blocked sites per se, but all the dependencies Western websites have these days. Without a VPN load times are pretty bad (unless you tweak the browser's timeout values), since most websites include "like buttons" from blocked social media sites.
      Additionally, the Chinese regime tampers with the HTTPS protocol and its certificates. HTTPS either fails more often than it should, or your browser will warn you about dubious certificates.
      And sometimes you still have the good old "connection

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I talk Madarin lessons from a chick in Beijing (via italki.com) using skype. The video is always shit. The HILARIOUS part is that this dumb chinc will blame MY CONNECTION as the problem.

    No Rainy, my 60Mbps cable line is running great to the rest of the world. The shit hole you live in is the issue.

  • Use FlyVPN (Score:4, Informative)

    by nsxdavid ( 254126 ) <dw@FREEBSDplay.net minus bsd> on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:33PM (#54783333) Homepage

    The FlyVPN service will let you connect to a lot of different servers in China and experience what it's like.

    We use it to test our path out of China for various mobile games as they prepare to launch with our partners in China.

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @11:21PM (#54783587)

    Where do I find a VPN to experience the North Korea intranet?

  • by BeCre8iv ( 563502 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @12:47AM (#54783847)
    If the pry-minister gets her way.
  • Start learning Chinese, first.
    99.999% of Chinese sites are in some Chinese language.
    Then move to China.
    Or ask a Chinese friend to install something like TeamViewer.

  • #!/bin/sh
    # Chinese Internet Enabler
    sudo iptables -F
    sudo iptables -P OUTPUT -j REJECT
  • Spin up a VPN server from inside of China. There are plenty of those services and you'll be able to browse as if you are in China.

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