i just arrived in beijing for WWW2008 and LocWeb 2008. working with the hotel's internet connection turns out to be interesting. of course, you are never sure whether the internet connection is just spotty or there is something else going on, but there definitely is some blocking.
for example, i can write my blog (i.e., use TypePad's web-based front-end), but i cannot read my blog (i.e., access
http://dret.typepad.com/). and there have been reports about problems with TypePad access in china (and of course general reports about internet filtering in china). the thing that confuses me is that if there is a firewall, they must block by default all
domains, but explicitly unblock
to allow access to the application. that's feels a little bit like blogger-friendly censorship, turning blogs into write-only tools. btw, Blogger works just fine; i am wondering why TypePad is blocked while Blogger is not. are the user populations different in their criticism of china? or is it just because Google has been schmoozing the chinese government?
however, many other things i was expecting not to work do work, such as HTTPS, SSH, and SFTP. which means that tunneling through the great firewall of china is not too hard, it just takes some willingness to do it. and of course the time it takes to reverse the efforts the chinese government is putting into blocking access to information.