By now you may have decided that I have disappeared for ever as it is a helluva long time since I wrote a blog post.
However I am still here, and the reason for the long blogging silence was the result of a whole host of problems: poor health, rather too much travelling (China-UK-China, China-India-China), a major technical problem with my laptop, and last but most importantly the frigging powers that be here in the PRC.
I am going to have to phrase my words carefully here, but there are those in power in this place who do not want their citizens to have access to some of what is available on the interweb (you knew or suspected all this didn’t you?).
So when I first came here five years ago I discovered that my modest little former blog (The Three Rs: Reading, Ranting & Recipes) was blocked as were many other websites. I quickly learnt that the way to get round this was to use a VPN (Virtual Proxy Network), and so I signed up for a free version. Nearly all ex-pats living here use VPNs and a few Chinese do so too. After a month or so I realised that VPN was not doing the biz, so I signed up and paid for one of the best VPNs available – Astrill; and have used it successfully ever since. Until this January. When we got back to BJ in late January, it became obvious that my internet access was being blocked at every turn. At first I thought it was because of my laptop problem, but then friends here said they too were suffering the same hassles.
As far as I can gather, there is a department of the government who are determined to stop ANYONE in China accessing anything from outside that they don’t approve of (pictures of kittens are ok) as it might cause national instability. For crying in a bucket!! They have proudly trumpeted the way they have managed to stop some of the VPNs and the big one they wanted to hit was – you guessed it – Astrill. Now it has become a cat-and-mouse game between the Chinese Cyberspace Administration and Astrill.
At the moment Astrill is winning – by a gnat’s crochet – but who knows for how long?
To rub salt into the wound – so to speak – Cyberspace Aministration of China released a song (a song!?) praising their own endevours, it was on TV here over the Chinese New Year – you can hear it here. To be fair, most Chinese just laugh when I ask about it, and say that when it came on they just changed channels.
BTW – whilst in India, my DD solved my laptop problem for me – hooray!