In china, people use all sorts of ways to try to break the great firewall. To name a few ways, VPN, shadowsocks, XX-Net, freegate, psiphon,Tor.
According to my experience, people who are not highly educated tend to be content with what they use inside the wall. Because there are plenty of Chinese counterpart of famous services. To name a few:
- Baidu: The No.1 search engine in China for now (but I think it is really terrible in various ways, both technically and morally).
- Weibo: China's twitter (quite good, but also delete your posts or suspend your account if you post some sensitive content)
- Youku and Iqiyi: these two are the largest video site in China.
- Wechat: China's No.1 social media APP, where people can communicate and share their daily life in the so-called
- Taobao and Jingdong: China's largest online selling platform.
Of course, there are more than that I can list. So basically, a lot of people do not have the need to cross the fire wall. They are just satisfactory with what they see and hear inside the wall and are not willing to see what it is outside.
For those who want to cross the wall, the situation is not so good. You can not easily download VPN APPs in the app store. They are banned by the governments. A lot of website where you can buy VPN services or download apps have also been banned. In fact, the famous code sharing site GitHub has been banned once. But it was unblocked shortly afterwards.
In order to cross the firewall, it is often a question of chicken and egg. For example, you can download the open source XX-net from GitHub. But in order to configure it, you need access to Google to set up a free Google App Engine account. Even though you can cross the firewall, most tools you use are not so stable and maybe ineffective or dis-connected every once in a while (which is super annoying). I myself have managed to buy a VPS outside China (cost about 150yuan a year) and set up a shadowsocks service. So I use shadowsocks to cross the firewall and it is quite stable (although there are researcher home intend to detect the traffic of shadowsocks and block it).
To make things worse, if you try to set up a proxy service and sell it to others to make a profit, you are one the brink of breaking the law. As a result, even highly educated people may not have a reliable internet connection to the outside internet.
In summary, although there are plenty of tools to cross the firewall, few people know how to cross reliably.