A Brief Update from Beijing

As mentioned in an earlier article, I am now in Beijing, China. I arrived yesterday after what was a very long airplane ride. I am now in a hotel room and have caught up on a lot of missing sleep. This morning (Chinese time) I connected via the hotel’s wi-fi network to the Internet.

As I expected, the “Great Firewall of China” blocks a lot of web sites, including Google, Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, CNN, and many other sites. At first, I couldn’t even check my email for new messages. However, I then enabled a software VPN (virtual private network) that I always use, both at home and when traveling. Voila! Every web site I have tried since then has now worked normally, just as expected. I can check email and surf the web as I please.

Hopefully, I can be active this week on the EOGN.com web site whenever I am not out sightseeing.

On a personal note, I spent a year in the early 1980s in China, including many weeks in Beijing. Riding into the city yesterday from the (new) airport, I didn’t recognize the city that I used to know so well. A lot has changed in 32 years!

I’ll be out sightseeing in “the old neighborhood” in a couple of hours.

Also, I have written often about VPNs in my other blog, the Privacy Blog. If you have an interest, you can read my earlier articles about VPNs by starting at https://privacyblog.com/category/vpn-virtual-private-networking/.

9 Comments

Dick, good info on the VPN. Just wondering why you were in China in the 80s. There weren’t many American in China back then. Safe travels!

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    —> Just wondering why you were in China in the 80s.

    My employer of those days sent me to China to manage a team of company employees installing large mainframe computers, costing several million dollars each. This was before the invention of the PC. In fact, I remember being in China and one day reading a several-days-old newspaper from Hong Kong that said IBM had just announced a new product, to be called the “Personal Computer” (or PC). Up until that time, the only computers that fit on a desktop were Apple II, Commodore VIC-20, Radio Shack’s TRS-80, and a few others. The phrase “Personal Computer” was not in widespread use until that time.

    —> There weren’t many American in China back then.

    True! I well remember being in Changchun, a city in northeast China in an area that used to be called Manchuria. It was an industrial city with few things that would attract tourists. The installation team was there for two weeks and the only foreigners we met of any nationality were our own team members! However, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Canton (also known as Guangzhou or Kwangchow) and a few other larger cities did receive foreign business people and occasional tourists. Many of the tourists were Australians although there were a smaller number of Americans, Canadian, British, New Zealanders, and other nationalities.

    On Sunday (our only day off) in Changchun, I went for a walk in the city and soon attracted a rather large crowd following me everywhere. Most of the crowd apparently had never seen a foreigner, except possibly for the Japanese who occupied the city in World War II. Most of them had never seen anyone dressed in blue jeans and other western clothes. Every male and some females in Changchun in those days wore Mao jackets although those were disappearing from the larger cities at the time. (Hmmm, I didn’t see any Mao jackets today!)

    I have a thousand stories to tell but won’t bother you with them here. (smile)

    Liked by 1 person

Hope you will try to do something about the torture of dogs and cats! I recently became a NO Made in China customer. Googled and got more than 10 pages. Makes the Great Wall and the beautiful mountains in the National Park look bad.

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    —> Hope you will try to do something about the torture of dogs and cats!

    Today I saw several dogs that were obvious pets being walked by their owners. They all were well groomed and apparently are pampered. I never saw that in China when I was here in the early 1980s! Therefore, I assume that the treatment of pets has already improved significantly. Even seeing pets is an eye-opener for those of us who spent a lot of time here in “the old days.”

    A lot of things in China have changed in the past 30+ years!

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Looking forward to hearing more of your reflections on China today. Enjoy your trip!

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Would love to see a picture of you from back in the ’80s.

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My parents were in China in 1989 while my father installed energy boilers, first a month in Nanjing and now another month in Bejing. As they traveled from the airport to their hotel, my mother was happily snapping photos of the throngs of people when the ‘guide’ grabbed her camera away and ripped out the film. They were upset and when they arrived in their room, my father phoned his company in the US and said “Get us out of here, something’s not right and my wife won’t stay on her own during the day like she did in Nanjing.” The next morning they went downstairs with their luggage, only to find themselves being loaded into the middle of a bakery truck, covered over by material and bread and whisked away to the airport. It wasn’t until they arrived in Japan that they were told they had only JUST escaped from the Tienanmen Square uprising and would never have been able to travel the streets without the subterfuge. Years later, my brother married a sweet Japanese girl that had been sent to Bejing to study the Chinese language – and she was in the crowd of University students that day!!!

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My company supplies us with burner laptops when we go to the PRC. They’re stripped down to the bare bones with little more than a browser so we can remotely access emails. Obviously a little late for you now, but a good practice nonetheless.

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    I took a Chromebook to China for the same reasons. I made sure I stored no data in the Chromebook, which is the default setting for all Chromebooks anyway. Chromebooks normally do not save anything in the computer, preferring to save everything in the cloud. I also used a VPN for secure online connections. It worked well. I was surprised that I was able to connect to all the services I normally use, including email, this web site, and more.

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