The other day we published a Best 2012 VPN in China blog discussing the best vpns to use in order to tunnel under the “Great Firewall of China.” We discussed how useful strong (and supported) vpns are when it comes to getting access to your email, banking, Facebook, Youtube, etc. while in China (even in Tier one cities like Beijing and Shanghai). There were some good comments made on that blog too, so it’s worth checking out if you missed it. Since then, we asked our affiliate VPNs to give us a scenario of how businessmen might use their VPNs in China, and this is what we got back from Doug Haden with StrongVPN:
A few days had passed and I found myself in Beijing. I found a nice hostel which had wifi and thought it was a good idea to finally post some new pics and updates. To my surprise, everything was still blocked. I had asked a few travelers if they were having the same problem, and they explained that everything that I was looking to do would in fact be blocked.
One of the travelers had suggested I look into a VPN. This would allow me to browse the internet through a private server in the US. After doing a bit of research I came across StrongVPN. They had a live chat on their home page, and a representative helped me immediately. The setup was simple (in which they helped me with as well). Before I knew it I was up and running again, and connected with everyone back home.
One a side note, after travelling further into the heart of China, the VPN was unable to connect. I have gone to the StrongVPN live chat and one of their representatives recommended that I change my Package to use “OpenVPN”, as they informed me that some ISPs may block the “PPTP” connections. They were able to upgrade me and setup the new connection type remotely for me. I’m now able to watch netflix, hulu, and do my online banking anywhere in China with no worries of being blocked.
Though the above is a fictional account of a scenario in which a foreign business traveler to China needs a VPN and additional support to access internet in different places in China, we have heard these stories before, and unfortunately they are too true. If you ever plan to do business in China, chances are you will have trouble with the internet there.
But take note that we are not encouraging anyone to break the law in China by using a VPN. Check with a legal counsel familiar with Chinese internet-use laws to ensure you are acting in accordance. Being fined or sent to jail for breaking the law in China would be much worse than not being able to access the internet there. And believe me, things can get tricky there. I recall once when a group of university teachers were rounded up at a McDonalds and taken to jail for not having their passports. It just so happens those teachers had been frequenting that location for some time as part of a religious fellowship activity.
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Disclosure: StrongVPN is an affiliate of the Learn Chinese Business blog. That doesn’t mean we don’t encourage comments about which 2012 VPNs works best in China…let us know your thoughts on what is and isn’t working best for you.