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Updated info on internet access in China

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I'm leaving for China in September, and wondering if I should bother tracking down a reliable VPN or proxy before I go. I will want to access only my email ( and blog ( Facebook would be nice, but not worth setting up a VPN for, I don't think. I'll be in Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Shanghai. I used a China Firewall Test site at and it indicated that the sites I mention (not FB) are accessible through the Great Firewall.

If I were to go the VPN route, I'm looking at SurfBouncer and IAPS.

Any thoughts/advice?

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