By Edward Lanfranco
The Washington Times
February 7, 2008
BEIJING — Chinese Internet censorship is little more than a joke to Li Shenwen, an unemployed computer game enthusiast who remained glued to his keyboard well past midnight in a dingy “Wangba” or “NetBar” on a recent Saturday night.
Official blocks on controversial or political Web sites pose no obstacle to any experienced user who wants to get past them, said Mr. Li, who picks up spending money by amassing points in computer games and selling them to a broker who in turn sells them online to avid but inept Western gamers.
Reluctant to be distracted from his profitable pursuit, Mr. Li, in his mid-20s, offered a $14 wager that he could get to any three blocked sites in less than five minutes. The bet was made.
Opening a new browser, he promptly brought up outlawed content in Chinese and English from YouTube, Voice of America, Falun Gong and, for added measure, Reporters Without Borders — all within less than three minutes.
“You could have asked anyone here to do this,” Mr. Li said with a wave around the room. But he added, they are more interested in using skills to access restricted pornography sites than to read about politics.