Hi Soxmiz - I'm new too, and am also a Westerner in China. Glad to hear you are enjoying China; some expats end up having a love-hate relationship
with the place as although there is something new and wondrous to the place each and every day, there's other things which will p*** you off no doubt
as you settle. Much like anywhere I guess. I've seen others simply hate the place and bail within months, while others can't get enough of the place
and settle down permanently.
I'll give you a quick run-down from my experience of what is and is not permissible with regards to the net. If you've got the money, full, 100%
unfiltered and unadulterated Internet is available, but you have to get a dedicated line that runs via HK. This option is really only open to big
multinationals who can afford the absorbitant price though (in the ten's of thousands USD /month). The rest of us are subject to the Great
You'll notice you currently can't access youtube, which is annoying as it seems to be the platform of choice for vids these days. It gets
periodically shut down, has been down for 8 weeks or so - typically when something is going on in Tibet.
Which brings me to the role of China's army of cyber police, whose full-time job it is to scour the Internet and block out sensitive sites. Although
they are typically concerned more with sites in Chinese, I have seen English forums blocked before too. The way not to get a site blocked, such as
this one, is to not rant on and on about the political misgivings of China and T*bet. Nor rant on and on about the situation with that spiritual group
in China, the Fal*n G**g. There are a number of other things which will garner attention, but they are the two main things.
One more thing, there can be serious jail-time penalties in China for "starting false rumours" on the Internet, with either political or market
information, which is deemed to destabilize or simply be fraudulent. But again, this applies more to those who publish in Chinese, rather than
English. But serious breaches in English also won't go unnoticed. While you are likely to avoid imprisonment as a Westerner, you may find yourself
unable to re-enter the country or get a visa. Anyway, no need for alarm, but it just pays to be wary, that's all.
I guess you are in Shenzhen or Guangzhou huh? If you have any questions about life from a Westerner's perspective in China, or cool places to go,
things to avoid etc..feel free to email me.