When my husband was offered the job in Beijing, quite a few people who know me well were worried! "But Lise isn't facebook banned in China"? "How are you going to survive"? Clearly I have the reputation of being very active online and I cannot deny that :-) Well fear not my dear friends. I'm here and I have one new friend to thank for it: VPN!
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and, to simplify, it gives you the possibily to mask your IP address and pretend that you're in another country while you're actually in China. Some of you may have bought an account in a desperate attempt to watch a particular football match live online:-)
And why is it necessary to have VPN in China?
Well the Chinese government blocks websites such as youtube, facebook and twitter aswell as the google browser.The only well-known and rather good browser that's accessible without VPN is Yahoo.
So how do you get a VPN?
Very simple: BEFORE you go to China, buy a VPN account. You can for example use Express VPN or Astrill with a minimum duration of 1 month. After you have purchased the VPN, you need to install it on your laptop/mobile device BEFORE you go to China. This is done via a simple installation link that's sent to you by e-mail when you buy the account. When you land in China, you simply turn on your VPN together with your wifi or mobile network and voilà...you can now access social networks, google, youtube etc.
In our family we have ended up buying 2-3 different VPN accounts because, for some reason, they were not working properly with several devices connected at the same time. So that's the only thing you have to be aware of.
But this is how we all get around "The Great Firewall".