Using a VPN when in China: The Samurai Way

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 Behind the Great Firewall


The Chinese internet goes by very strict policy imposed by a variety of laws and administrative regulations, controlled by an authoritarian government that tries to

neutralize critical online opinion.


It’s an unprecedented censorship system in all rights, that turned the Chinese internet into the largest digital boundary the world has ever seen.


However solid, The Great Chinese Firewall, is just a component in a much stronger censorship and surveillance project called The Golden Shield or perhaps what may be better called as “the golden curtain”.


The great divide or the cold war over internet


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Beyond the gated community of the Chinese Great Firewall, the “Chinese wall” abbreviation is today a business term, spreading its meaning to international affairs, imposing heavy entry barriers to outsiders.


Just early last month, Uber the ride-hailing giant, succumbed to its Chinese competitor Didi, announcing the selling of its Chinese operations to Didi Chuxing, the homegrown favorite.


Call it the great divide or the “cold war of internet”, whichever the epithet, it’s easy to recognize the Asian monopoly inside the region, a situation that has become more real than pollution.


VPNS and Workarounds


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But behind the great firewall, people are becoming more and more knowledgeable of ways to go around government’s censorship by using VPNs and other workaround tools. Even though circumvention tools are little used by ordinary Chinese, for the vast majority of westerners based in China, a VPN download is a common habit, just as drinking “still water” or keeping your air conditioning at minimum temperature.


Setting yourself up with a VPN connection, when in China is the first thing to consider, whether you’re looking to stay away from the control apparatus or simply connect to Netflix streaming. The connection, however, goes  at a global low speed pace, so you’ll need to have your expectations straight when entering the arena a VPN app. is able too unlock for you.



And Chinese online censorship doesn’t seam to back down, especially after a series of large, anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests, and ethnic riots, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages,.


China and not Silicon Valley is cutting edge innovation


In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2010, a Chinese worker labors at a production line at the factory of Lenovo Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. in Shanghai. Japan lost its place as the world's No. 2 economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2010, a Chinese worker labors at a production line at the factory of Lenovo Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. in Shanghai. Japan lost its place as the world’s No. 2 economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)


On the flipside, China’s local technology companies are flourishing protected behind the “internet gates that keep over 700 million users loyal to local brands. Beijing walls its homeground internet from the rest of the digital world for two decades, preventing technology companies like Facebook to tap the Chinese market. Still, there is a growing anticipation that Chinese companies could prove even more competitive in emerging sectors like virtual reality, artificial intelligence or robotics, if let to a more liberated own device – market.


But the digital censorship has proven to be very lucrative for local technology companies like Tencent, the giant that owns WeChat, a 700 million user app that combines e-commerce and real-world services in ways that has the western companies in awe.


We Chat, the super-app that’s lumping together social media, e-commerce and traditional retail, is often compared with Facebook. Truth of the matter is, WeChat has long outperformed its American counterpart in terms of features and functionality. As Jonah M. Kessel and Paul Mozur puts it in  New York Times, WeChat is “your What’s up, Facebook, Skype and Uber; it’s your Amazon, Instagram, Venmo and Tinder, but it’s other things we don’t even have apps for. There are hospitals that have built up whole appointment booking systems, there are investment services, there are even heat maps that show how crowded a place is at your favorite shopping mall or at a popular tourist site, the list of services goes on basically forever..”


It’s no news that the Chinese market is home to a copycat cultural habit, but at the same time China and not Silicon Valley is cutting edge innovation if we were to quote New York Times. While still lagging in some important areas, China managed to protrude Baidu instead of Google, Weibo for Twitter, WeChat for Faceebok or Alibaba instead of Amazon. Letting users hail a taxi or order a pizza without switching to another app., the rich, resourceful Chinese digital world is proving itself to be worthy of causing a real great split between China and the rest of the world.


Concurrently the authoritarian Chinese way of conducting business has their own local tech firms forced to chose market: it’s either home or anywhere else; cuz for China considering how large the market really is, the grass isn’t always greener. 


China, the World’s Biggest Digital Empire



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However functional, internet censorship in China is not to be taken lightly, as at the helm of the world’s biggest digital empire stands the communist party, with a long record of human right violation.


On this “other internet planet” one should pay attention to personal data in a more “in depth’ understanding of the notion. There’s basically no safety net preventing the government to monitor closely corporate or personal data.


The Internet in China. FACTS:

china great firewall

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In China, individuals and companies rent their broadband access from the Chinese state or a state-controlled company. There are four national networks, CTNET, Chinanet, Cernet and CHINAGBN as backbone of the Internet in China. 2008 restructure, lead to the emergence of three major national service providers, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile, in all of which the state has a majority control.



  • Population: 1.38 billion (according to
  • Number of Internet users: over 700 million
  • Internet penetration rate: 52.2 %
  • Number of journalists in prison: 199
  • Number of netizens imprisoned: 84 (reported in September 2015)



Surveillance – A government affair

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The mass surveillance program that goes on China is operated through many government departments, involved in censoring and monitoring the Web:


Not only social networks, but popular internet telephone platforms are affected by the control regulations of this apparatus. Skype is a good example in the matter. A local partner, closely monitors Skype services in China, known as TOM-Skype, a slightly different version than the one available in other countries. Equipped with automatic filters to comply to the status quo restrictions imposed by the government, Skype’s software has suffered a mutation of its own. Reports by OpenNet Initiative Asia show that certain keywords can trigger monitoring and interception once typed in text chats. The message is then stored on an online server of TOM-Skype.


If workaround tools like My, or any other reliable VPN connection ar not used, the official Skype site redirects users to TOM-Skype. Often times, users are not aware that they are using a surveilance tuned version of Skype and that their data security could potentially be at risk.

Breaking the Wall   


VPN connection when in China


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There are many ways of circumventing the totalitarian Chinese surveillance system, such as proxy servers or VPNs.


Any company selling VPN services in China must comply with regulations, hence register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Plus they’re constantly targeted by the local authorities and are often slow and unstable.


As monitoring and surveillance is not confined to the Great Firewall, but built into social networks, chat services and VoIP, the best solution falls in the court of companies outside China. is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service ,with servers located in France, Romania and Canada, hence is not subjected to DMCA compliance.


 The platform was designed with the professional focus in mind and caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time. Engineered as a global platform, is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.




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 Being a privacy minded individual is the first thing you should consider in the ever growing digital age.


The convergence of Telecom and IT has opened the door for significant B2B activity in the ICT industry and left a lot of room for data security to be improved along the way. According to Wikipedia, in the field of telecommunications, data retention or data preservation, generally refers to the storage of call detail records (CDRs) of telephony and internet traffic and transaction data (IPDRs) by governments and commercial organizations. In the case of government data retention, the data stored is usually of telephone calls made and received, emails sent and received, and websites visited. Location data is also collected.


The data retention scheme as controversial as it was back in 2015 and continues to be, made its way through the Senate, march of last year in Australia, increasing the levels of surveillance over its citizens. Legal regulations of this caliber can reveal all sorts of data about you at the metadata level or security agencies- Australian or otherwise.


Having a robust VPN to encrypt your personal data is  nowadays, the only way to Zion.


And as we’re not looking to exhaust the “hide everything I do” reasoning; we mainly believe that a VPN is not paramount to activity that borders on illegal, but the very symbol of our right to the privacy acumen. My stands for data security and flexibility in the professional VPN understanding.


Across the world, businesses use VPNs to connect to remote data centers, or for employees to connect remotely to the physical network of their workplace, while individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their information from the potential liabilities that lie ahead once exposed to unsecured networks such as public WiFis or hotspots.


Adding an extra hop to the route between your PC and sites like Facebook, your data location can be easily camouflaged.




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your internal data, sites, git repositories, banking credentials and all information will be coated in multiple layers of encryption;


as IT is being challenged to enable safe access to employees remotely by providing mobile VPN, secure email, encrypted containers and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), living outside the data security paradigm is simply not smart anymore, whether we’re talking about corporate or personal data;


A simple VPN download gets you a new location identity so that you can use geographically dispersed resources;


Bypassing Internet censorship in countries where censorship is applied;


You can share files and sensitive information inside a secured group away from prying eyes;





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Popularized by Milton Friedman back ’75 the phrase “There is no such thing as a free lunch remains of great economic relevance today in describing things like “opportunity costs”. However enticing, free VPNS seldom defeat the purpose of what a Virtual private network should be.


A VPN service implies having servers in various countries. The maintenance or renting costs can amount a few figures, depending on volume.


“When the product is free. You are the product”-

using their users as servers by converting them into a botnet, some VPN providers have been revealed, while others admit in their lawyer-eese terms of service, they can sell your bandwidth to other companies.

In other words, by searching a bargain  you can be faced with two main issues:

  1. Slower computer and internet connection: as you’re sharing your bandwidth and processor with others;
  2. Higher Security Risks: assuming responsibility for what other users do online, that can be tracked down back to your IP.

In depth analytics of your use data can be sold to third parties companies. Choosing a VPN provider, like My, that goes on a “no log kept” policies is the best approach to the matter.

  • ADS

modifying the web code to show ads is a common practice for “free” VPN services. 


A good VPN will have its own servers and encryption protocols designed for it, reducing possible security failures to a minimum. Free VPN services are often an open door to malware and can be easily used by scammers.


In the FREE vs. PAID matter, its is important to understand that most legit businesses will offer 7 days of free trial, but a free connection on a indefinite period of time is sure to get its profit elsewhere;  in ways that can harm your security and defeat the whole purpose of having a VPN in the first place.


We suggest you do yourself a favor and invest a good 5 bucks for a reliable VPN like the dedicated VPN you can get from My or from another reliable provider.


As a general rule, mundane but so incredibly important,  reading the company’s Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy, before buying a vpn service is a thing you should really consider. Ideally, these documents are in plain English and not lawyer-eese



A common misconception goes to say that US VPN services are legally required to log activity on their network. While required to cooperate with US law enforcement, as opposed to other countries, the location of servers is often more important.

Not compliant with DMCA are a lot of server locations outside the US.




Very useful when playing online games or logging into services such as banks, Paypal, e-mail providers, etc., a static IP is an underated asset, than not many VPN providers, big names (surprisingly enough), offer.


The ones that do offer a dedicated IP will charge the service as add on and will not always be that transparent about prices.

At My you can get your own static IP address for as little as $5/ month.


Many times, a dynamic VPN service can be rejected by services like gmail, for example. By using a shared VPN IP, Google may flag your account and require 2factor authentication.


For the record, is Google’s.

This is their dedicated IP address and no one else’s, the unique address on the web that has been attached to the domain name

To have and to hold, a pretty alluring thought!


By Purchasing a Dedicated IP your site is the only one on the Internet that will be using that unique IP address.

Apart from the alluring sound of it, with a dedicated IP address, processes are allowed to run for more than 10 minutes as long as they aren’t consuming too much of the server’s memory, which would result in a CPU throttling. Moreover, certain voice chat programs require a dedicated IP address before they can be setup and used or if you have a program that sends out emails every so many seconds, such as from a mailing list program like DaDa Mail, then you would need to get a dedicated IP address, if it’s going to take more than 10 minutes to send out the emails. is a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service , designed with the professional focus in mind. Our platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated and Business, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time.


Engineered as a global platform, is a VPN service provider committed to developing applications and services that preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy. is the result of the craftsmanship of our engineers, with many years of experience supporting large-scale, custom deployments for businesses , telecommunications companies, multi-service operators and enterprises.” Dave Wilson, CEO My


Freedom is #inevitable

My and team up for automation

As part of a continuous and strategic process, My, the VPN platform of choice for professionals, and Elastic Firewall, the next generation firewall management tool team up for automation. Heading towards a holistic security approach of Unified threat management (UTM) or unified security management (USM), My welcomes Elastic Firewall as a network security solution.

The perks of automation

The ability to perform tasks at superhuman levels are typically between “three and ten times the cost.” to quote the “classics” at McKinsey on the fundamentals of workplace automation( you can read here the whole white paper)

The above statement couldn’t be more similar to our own experience with the Elastic Firewall tool.
So, long story short we tested Elastic Firewall, the linux iptables firewall automation tool, that you can find on and here are the features that got us most excited:

  • simple, smooth integration process, designed on three different levels: Free, the most blunt of all versions available, followed by the Basic and the Enterprise, the more advanced counterparts in terms of integration, interface and capabilities;
  • control over Linux Iptables on multiple machines;
  • costs: using the Elastic Firewall tool we managed to gain full control over a series of repetitive and tiring actions, reducing a lot of the traction off the backs of your IT specialists or completely relieving our IT from the tiring tasks of firewall management;
  • a single deck interface appending rules in the chain through master deck interface enabled us to manage huge workloads of linux iptables firewalls in just a few clicks. Seeing is believing;
  • multivendor supportElastic Firewall lets you automate and manage network security policies for all leading vendors and platforms;
  • keeping application in perfect alignment: through cross-departmental management, security and network teams combined;
  • reduce errors: appending rules in the command line manually leaves a lot of room for errors which may lead to disruptions. Do not fret, this tool is the way to increased accuracy of changes, reducing mistakes, and speeding up the overall workflow of changes.

Having tested the service, we think Elastic Firewall tool is the way towards single racked mountable network appliance and definitely the way towards saving one of the most valuable resource of the known universe: time.

Freedom of tiring, repetitive workloads is finally attainable.