Would you consider leaving China because of Internet blocks?

Prompted by a blogpost on Chinasolved.com about ‘China fractured web‘, I put together a short online survey and advertised it on my personal Twitter feed yesterday afternoon. It was also mentioned on Danwei’s Twitter feed and on Flypig‘s feed.

By this morning, there were 100 responses. The results are below.

Bear in mind that everyone who responded is almost certainly a heavy Twitter user, and part of the Internet-addicted crowd of people that read Danwei and use Twitter in China despite the blocks on both sites.

The results are therefore hardly representative of anything but Danwei readers and my own circle of Net buddies, who are all juiced up on broadband.

Interestingly, The ratio of Chinese to foreign respondents is consistent with every previous survey we’ve done about Danwei’s readers: around 70% Westerners to 30% Chinese.

1. Do China’s Internet blocks make your work difficult?

Yes: 84

No: 16

2. Do China’s Internet blocks make your personal life difficult or entertainment difficult to access?

Yes: 90

No: 10

3. Would you consider leaving China because of Internet blocks?

Yes: 60

No: 40

4. Are you a Mainlander, from Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan, or a foreigner?

Mainlander: 27

HK / Taiwan, Macao: 3

Foreigner: 70


These are some of the comments respondents left:

If you rely on the internet that much, then you really need a life. When in Rome…

Use a secure proxy and tunnel your traffic!

At this stage I wouldn’t leave based on this but if things get worse then I may well leave.

Internet blocks suck ass, but if the only reason why you’re here is because of China’s reputation for world-class high-speed Internet, and now you’re disappointed, you’re a moron. If you’re here for something else, you can work around the annoying blocks.

GFW drives me crazy!


I’m writing as someone who lived in China for quite a long time before moving away for reasons unconnected to blocking. The blocking is not enough, I think, to make someone who is already there want to leave, but it certainly does make it less likely that I would want to return.

Is anybody really going to leave China because it takes a VPN to Twitter?

to me it shows fear and weakness on the part of the government .. i worry for them

Getting very f***ed off with the not so Great Firewall of China

Fuck GFW and long live the network

Goldkorn, you’re a douchebag

Internet blocks alone wouldn’t cause me to leave, but could push me over the edge in conjunction with something else like visa hassles.

Fuck GFW

As Chinese born American living in Beijing, Internet blocks doesn’t make my work life any more difficult, just the personal communication and entertaining part of the life such as Facebook I use to keep touch with my friends. Not a big deal. Thu, Aug 20, 2009 3:24

Would be interesting if the survey could factor in results over time. Any new foreigner in China will probably answer yes to 1 and 2, but the longer you stay, the more you can find ways around for number 2. As an ESL teacher, I need Youtube and Google Images for lessons, so full and partial blocks disrupt my work. Anyways, maybe add a question #6 to ask how long the person has lived here.

SSH tunnel

I assume things will get better after the 60th anniversary festivities are done with, but who really knows?


This is one of the biggest reasons I don’t think I will move to China for the long-term. It’s not just the blocks themselves but what they stand for.

I wouldn’t leave China only because of blocks, but they are a contributing factor in my desire to eventually leave – more because they reflect the condescending attitude of the government toward its citizens than because I can’t get to any particular website.

Free YouTube, free Facebook

I’ve considered a move to Hong Kong, but not seriously. Not yet.

Already left China because of this reason.

The blocks are very easy to get around and make virtually no difference.

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