1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

Relay U.S. web platform into China

Discussion in 'Web Design & Development' started by OnlineEnglishTutor, Apr 22, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. OnlineEnglishTutor

    OnlineEnglishTutor Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    I hope this is the correct category for this thread. It is definitely a technical issue but perhaps might be inadvertently controversial as well. Controversy is not my intent. As you can surmise from my username, I am an online English tutor. The majority of my students have been Chinese and I even tend to prefer them. However, especially now due to the unsettled political relations between China & the U.S., my work is being directly impacted. To date, I have used Skype for my teaching platform. It served the purpose and there is an approved Chinese version so Skype is not blocked by the Chinese government's firewall. However, I need to find, or build, a different platform, or one to use in tandem, which supports online file storage and document editing for my students. Until now, I have had to rely on the individual students to provide their own text apps, document storage, etc. for their assignments, lessons, class notes etc. I won't go into specifics, just suffice to say that has not worked well enough, especially for very young children. I need a platform where all that is contained server-side. Now, so far, nothing about this quest is special or difficult. With some extra tech support, I could even build such a platform myself. This is where the challenge comes in and I am hoping that either a Chinese, Chinese-American, or other IT expert who understands the Chinese internet system, will reply. First, please don't advise me to try to do this on Chinese servers... been there, tried that, it was painful and failed and it was painful. Second, There do exist commercial long distance e-learning platforms specifically for TEFL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language). However, all are expensive, none of them can guarantee access inside China, and most require using their curricula rather than my own. The PRC government has approved one single, government controlled platform called "V.I.P. Kids". But all their teachers are their employees and are required to teach nothing but canned, pre-programmed lessons produced by the company. My specialty is individualistic tutoring tailored to each student. I require my own platform, or at least complete admin control. I require it in English on an American server. I could go into the perils I encountered attempting to do it on Chinese servers but I prefer not. What I need is to relay my platform. Skype goes through the PRC gov firewall without any blockage of any features on my end, so I know this is technically doable. But Skype does not have online document storage or online document creation & editing. To be clear, I do not want to break any laws. My tutoring content is completely apolitical and noncontroversial. I teach phonics, grammar etc. I just need to find a better way to do my job.
     
  2. OnlineEnglishTutor

    OnlineEnglishTutor Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    No one has yet replied to this thread but it is getting numerous views. Perhaps I should comment a little more about the nature of this issue. For me, this is a technical issue. I really don't have time or inclination to discuss the political aspects. They are what they are. Technically, I suppose this could be classified as a "workaround issue". My website (www.saipanenglishtutor.com) is blocked by the PRC gov. firewall, not for its content, but for its origin (USA). Likewise, I have also tried to post online sample videos of my tutoring. I tried my google drive first, uploaded, then sent the link to someone in China. The link was blocked. Then, suspecting PRC's old feud with Google, I tried uploading to my OneDrive (Microsoft). I sent that link & it was likewise blocked. I have questioned all the Chinese I have access to about this issue. This is a summary of the info so far: There is no existing Chinese law that prohibits Chinese students from having online tutors from outside of China. The PRC government itself is promoting their own "VIP Kid" as mentioned in the original thread post. Other than those using Skype like me, independent American tutors like me are simply arbitrarily blocked by the firewall using "definitions" the same way an antimalware program works. Those definitions include URLs based upon the originating servers. The firewall can read through any domain mask. For example, my website address is www.saipanenglishtutor.com but the firewall reads through the domain URL and identifies the originating server as Google. However, it is not only Google servers that are blocked. Most websites hosted on American servers are blocked, again, not for content, but for place of origin. From time to time, some American websites are permitted through the firewall but what is blocked and what is allowed to pass through is totally arbitrary and capricious. There is no set of standards one could meet to get approval. AND, the blockages and exceptions are constantly shifting. What will pass through today may well be blocked tomorrow. There isn't even a single set of standards or definitions for the whole of China. The blockages are arbitrarily set by PRC overseers located all over China. What is permitted in Guangdong may be blocked in Beijing or vice versa.

    In the original issue description, I mentioned that I already tried to open accounts with Chinese hosting companies and failed. There are so many different reasons why that failed that it would be a whole different forum thread. Suffice to say that is not an option for me. As far as I can find out, it is legal for Chinese to view American websites. They just can't do it because they are blocked by the firewall. Some Chinese people have invented workarounds using VPNs in order to use Facebook or other popular American sites. But my students are little kids or common folks, not techies. Using VPNs is above their tech level and also likely above mine. The main point is that what I want to do is legal in China, as far as I know. But "laws" inside China are not stable, consistent or transparent at all. The law there is basically whatever the local Communist Party boss says it is. Perhaps no one has posted any reply to this thread because of the surrounding political context. There is no political solution. That is far beyond my scope. I suspect that there IS a technical solution but it may be known only to Chinese or Chinese-American IT techs. Can anyone reading this reach out to some Chinese or Chinese-American colleagues for a solution? I expect that solution will end up being some kind of URL "relay". By that, I mean that I suspect that there exist some tech services in China who can "re-brand" if you will, my American hosted platform and relay it using a Chinese URL. I am willing to pay a reasonable fee for that service. The proverbial $64,000 question is HOW TO FIND & CONTACT THEM.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  3. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2002
    Messages:
    55,806
    First Name:
    Derek
    We will not allow ANY discussion on getting around the Chinese firewall or restrictions the Chinese or ANY other country puts on its residents and their internet access
    The moment any suggestion on bypassing these restrictions appear we will close the topic

    The block is because you are hosting on Google not hosting generally in USA
    Google and all its sites are regularly blocked in China

    I would suggest you use a UK or other European hosting company rather than a US based one or considering your main region of users, try an Australian hosting company. It will be very much trial and error to find a hosting service that is both reliable & not constantly blocked in Chinese firewall
     
  4. OnlineEnglishTutor

    OnlineEnglishTutor Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    OK Derek. My bad I guess. I suppose that my topic could be interpreted as "getting around" the firewall. If you read every word carefully, you will see that I was meticulous about getting around it LEGALLY. I think I was fairly clear that meant legal in BOTH countries. Is looking for a legal rebranding service tantamount to "getting around"? If so, then my bad, inadvertent, not deliberate. Derek, you seem fairly knowledgeable yourself on the firewall issue. If you do not delete the thread immediately, I will copy your advice. By the way, it is not just Google servers. I described using a Microsoft server with the same result.
     
  5. OnlineEnglishTutor

    OnlineEnglishTutor Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    Derek, also it just now occurred to me that the reason the link to the Microsoft server was blocked may have been because it was delivered to my student via gmail. I am going to try it again sending the link via outlook & see if that makes any difference. OK? I am not trying to " getting around the Chinese firewall or restrictions the Chinese or ANY other country puts on its residents and their internet access". At this point, I am simply trying to send an email with a file link. The file itself is legal anywhere, just a boring old English teacher pronouncing phonics.
     
  6. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2002
    Messages:
    55,806
    First Name:
    Derek
    When I refer to get around restrictions, We mean use such programs as VPN or some dubious services and my comments are really meant for anybody considering a reply to you. We all agree that some countries do have very restrictive rules and policies about what content residents of that country can see. We might not agree with it, but we have to abide by their legal restrictions. Anything that involves getting round the firewall or other censorship is not allowed. Any suggestions like try hosting in a different country is allowed.

    I am not sure if Gmail or Outlook.com are blocked in China or emails coming from them are blocked. Try a different email service.
     
  7. OnlineEnglishTutor

    OnlineEnglishTutor Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    OK. I sent the file link to one of my students via Outlook.com. I'm awaiting his reply. This might qualify as a "workaround" but I don't see how it could be construed as specifically trying to "get around" the PRC firewall. This is ordinary emailing.
     
  8. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Messages:
    111,020
    I think we've exhausted all avenues available without violating the site's rule on "Circumventing Company, School Parental or Other Restrictions" which reads in part:
    It has been explained to you that what you are asking is indeed attempting to get around the country's firewall restrictions. Other than trying other email services there's nothing else we can advise. There is no way to "legally" get around laws or regulations. That would be like asking how you could rob a bank without it being a crime. All you can do is go with a service that's not blocked at any given time. If that becomes blocked at some point then you have to switch to something else that isn't blocked. Unfortunately, this is a consequence of doing business in a foreign country.

    So on that note and since there's nothing else we can do, I'm closing this thread.
     
  9. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/1209096

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice