From what I’ve been able to gather, there are three main ways (groupings?) of getting around the Great Firewall:
- Free and unreliable
- Paid and somewhat reliable
- Working for a Western company
Or, in my case, an US-based company that allows one to make use of the company’s Intranet to connect to the US, and then exit out into the internet via proxy in said country. (btw, I also make use of the second option.)
Although media tends to focus on Western companies that are setup in China primarily because of cheap labor or to gain access to the Chinese market, it seldom addresses another reason that Western companies are here, and that is to take advantage of an extremely talented group of people.
Also, since it is often seen as being more advantageous to work for Western companies than it is for local private or government-run agencies, foreign companies tend to get the best and the brightest that China has to offer (and, take it from me, some of the folks I work with are extra-ordinarily bright).
Now, on top of permitting these folks to get access to the internet unencumbered by the Great Firewall, Western companies often send over folks, such as myself, to help encourage out-of-the-box thinking… I would imagine that most folks who know me would testify (testify, people. testify!!) that I can certainly be a color-far-outside-the-box type of guy.
Okay, now that I’ve strayed totally off-topic, I guess how I’d like to end this post… especially considering that I’ve now got five years of living in Beijing under my belt… is that the subject of “off-shoring” jobs to China is extremely complex, and deserves far more discussion than the usually inflammatory soundbites that it is often afforded.