Beijing. 2:00 AM. The last 30 hours have been spent flying from D.C. to Tokyo to Beijing. I’m in a cold hotel room; still cold because I can’t figure out how to turn up the heat, haha. There’s complete darkness in my hotel room because my French roommate from the Washington Semester Program is asleep.
In 3 hours of hacking thus far, I have been unable to get around China’s Great Firewall. For those of you who read my post “Hey China…Stop Censoring The Internet“, you will remember how frustrated I am about many of my favorite sites being blocked.
First, I tried to follow the advice my friend Alex Priest gave me and went to VPN.American.edu to use a proxy server to get around the firewall. Unfortunately, I got this error message:
“Host Checker did not get installed properly. Your computer does not meet the security requirements.“
NOOOOO! You can imagine my frustration. So, I then tried the advice of my good friend Ting Gao, who I met in Singapore and who is from China. Ting had advised me to download either ‘Hotspot Shield’ or ‘Freegate’. Naturally, I went to Google and did a search for ‘Hotspot Shield’ (note: Google loads as ‘google.com.hk’ because their Chinese search engine ‘.cn’ is still shut down). I found the site, but – - take a guess – - when I clicked on it, it was blocked.
Then? Google stopped working for me. In the 30 minutes or so since, Google has worked sparingly. I found the above image for this article, but all other searches have resulted in errors. Looks like I should have downloaded ‘Hotspot Shield’ and/or ‘Freegate’ before I arrived in Singapore.
Well, how bad is it? BAD. The list is long. Facebook. Twitter. Videos on TechCrunch. Posterous. YouTube. Foursquare. The entire “ThisWeekIn” network (including Jason Calacanis’ interview with Dave McClure on ‘This Week in Startups’ that I am dying to watch), which runs on YouTube. Even Lil Wayne’s fan site that counts down his time until getting out of jail (now less than 24 hours), “WeezyThanxYou”…All blocked. 100%.
Luckily, Grooveshark is working. So, as the countdown until Lil Wayne is freed from Riker’s Island prison ticks closer and closer, I’m able to listen to some Weezy tunes in my headphones while writing this.
Help, someone, please: I need to get around China’s Great Firewall!