There are certain restrictions applied by the Chinese Authorities when it comes to internet use within China.
Interestingly, this years touring supporters had mixed experiences accessing applications like Facebook, Messanger, Google maps and others.
We did use a Chinese communications app - WeChat for which the majority of members used. This did raise some issues for thw Administrators of the RTTC site which we would like to avoid with next years tourists. More on this below.
The internet in China is highly regulated.
What does this mean to you as a tourist in China? Well there are certain sites which are blocked or supposedly blocked from being accessed from within mainland China.
This link which shows your the 'blocked web sites'List of Blocked Websites in China
weChat is the Chinese version of Facebook and other western communication applications.
originally developed in 2010 and released in 2011, WeChat offers more functionality than Facebook Messenger, so a good option for PAFC tourists to look at using. The application is available of various devices and operating systems
Select this link to visit the WeChat web site where you will be able to find more information.
This year, Shanghai adventure a group was setup 'Shanghai!' on WeChat to enable communication between members. This became a nightmare if you were trying to follow a conversation, as other conversations on the group chat soon overrode the thread you may have been trying to follow. For next year, the RTTC Admins would like to suggest some simple rules. These are;
Using these simple rules will help ALL of us. Notifications every few minutes does start to annoy you and make you ignore the messages intended for you. Thank you.
UPDATE From a post by Mirco Cotogno. From February 2018 the Chinese government plans a total ban of VPN services in the country. All local providers are ordered to effectively block all VPNs and thereby close access to many foreign sites. It remains to be seen, if this ban can be enforced or VPN providers will still find a way to bypass it. Apple has already removed major VPN apps from its store. To be sure to have access to vital sites use an international SIM card (even one from Hong Kong or Macau) on roaming in China as these restrictions don't apply to roaming SIM cards from abroad.
In China the internet as we know it in the 'West' is very different. A lot of the mobile applications may not work in China. These are basically American developed apps such as Google, Facebook including Messenger. To check if your apps will work use List of Blocked Websites in China to confirm. Please note this may change so confirm again before you travel.
There is a way around this, however it could be construde as 'illegal in China' to use it. Known as VPN (Virtual Private Network) which allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, such as experienced in China, shielding your browsing activity from prying eyes on public and other Wi-Fi networks.
VPN's are also useful if you want to watch say other AFL games while in China provided you select an Australian server connect. This allows you to fool Foxtel into believing you are in Australia thus allowing you to access their shows. Some of the better VPN providers are;