By Jani in English
The control of internet in China has been a popular topic in media. While most of the western websites are accessible, some notable restrictions do exist. I have personally found just one website which I really wanted to access but couldn't - Wikipedia. It has been blocked most of the time and sometimes unblocked. The current status is unfortunately blocked.
Chinese companies are also not free to operate a website, they need a license for that. Obviously this control only applies to websites hosted in China so I've never had to deal with the issue and I don't know what is involved in getting the license. My understanding is that the license requires you to do a great deal of self-censorship on the domain to make sure no undesireable content is present, and the license would then be revoked if things are not clean. But as I said, I actually have no first hand experience on it.
Something quite annoying is the control of personal web access. I knew the web traffic is monitored but only recently I found out how close home the monitoring reaches. Recently there have been times when I am unable to access some websites on the first try, and overall the web access has been very slow at times. I even suspected something is wrong with the XIHA Life server until I found the real cause. I opened XIHA Life, but nothing happened. I got a blank page which persisted for over a minute. I right-clicked and selected "View Page Source"... To my shock it contained a full page, just not what it was supposed to! Basically the content was a 1x1 pixel IFRAME with a link so a SRC and bunch of information as link parameters. After some research it turns out that the DSL modem does this for all page accesses! First it creates a page like this, which then automatically redirects me to the page I want to visit! So basically every single page I visit is logged.
I don't actually mind about it terribly much, but the problem is that apparently their server (which handles the IFRAME requests) isn't able to handle the amount of traffic they're getting and thus opening new pages is sometimes really slow. This is when it starts to bug me - watch me all you want but don't step on my way while doing it! Anyway, nothing to be done about it and I doubt it will change anytime soon... Gotta get used to the culture I guess.