Mary Shelly would be proud. Fan Binxing is responsible for the affront to freedom that is the Great Firewall of China. The Great Firewall of China allows the repressive Chinese government to restrict the Internet access of Chinese citizens to content that the government approves of.
Unfortunately for Binxing, the monstrosity he created blew up in his face in one glorious moment of irony while he was lecturing at his old college.
Well, That’s Embarrassing
The Register reports that Binxing was giving a speech at the Harbin Institute of Technology in Heilongjiang, China; a speech that was supposed to address issues related to Internet sovereignty. While he was giving the lecture, he tried to open up sites that were hosted in South Korea.
“Page not found” was the only response he got.
Anyone living in China—or who visits the nation regularly—has likely seen that frustrating message a lot. It’s what Chinese users get when they try to access information the government doesn’t want them to see. The Register reported that the Great Firewall has been shored up following the release of the Panama Papers, a massive data dump that exposed how government officials around the world, corporations and others hide their money in offshore banks.
Apparently, that information is dangerous to the Chinese government, so they tightened up their firewall, causing no small amount of consternation to the very man responsible for building the awful thing in the first place.
It Gets Better
What does one do when their own firewall ends up ruining their own speech at their own alma mater? If you’re Binxing—which apparently means you’re utterly oblivious to both irony and hypocrisy —you fire up your VPN so you can get around the wall.
Binxing must not have been using one of the VPN services we recommend to Chinese users, since he couldn’t even get around his own firewall using the VPN he already had installed on his computer.
So much for loyalty, one must assume.
In the end, Binxing had to use a screenshot to show the audience the page he was referring to.
If the Great Firewall of China was put in place to keep the Chinese government from being embarrassed, it utterly failed in this instance.
If you want to know how to make the Great Firewall fail, should you live in or be travelling to China, here’s how you do it.
Jumping the Wall
The basics of getting around the Great Firewall of China are pretty simple, however.
- Use a service that takes anonymous payments, e.g. Bitcoin
- Make sure the service provides a “stealth” VPN option. This prevents the VPN usage from being easily detected.
- Choose a server located offshore from China; Hong Kong is usually a good choice, but any nearby nation will do.
- Use a VPN connection monitor or kill switch to increase your privacy. The monitor will let you know if the connection drops.
Some VPN providers reach out to people who are trapped behind the great Firewall of China, so check the user support sections of their sites to see if they have specific information that might be relevant to you if you’re unable to access the free Internet.
We update that section of our site continuously, so be sure to check back if your provider can no longer get you over the wall or if you just want to try other options.