China's Great Firewall flummoxes European businesses, and others

Not one to follow the Benjamin Disraeli quote--"Never complain and never explain"--the European Chamber of Commerce in China published its annual member survey on June 10. Along with plans to cut jobs, trim investment because of intellectual property concerns and highlight favoritism shown to domestic firms--European businesses had a bigger problem. More than half said China's blocking of websites such as Google has negatively impacted productivity and research and development. The Great Firewall has only gotten stronger since it was made possible by a law passed in 1997. Many companies got around the blocks through virtual private networks (VPNs). But in recent years, the New York Times has seen its website blocked due to articles that highlighted wealth among China's ruling elite, as well as Bloomberg, Twitter ($TWTR) and Facebook ($FB). VPNs are increasingly intermittent. For many companies, and anyone else, it means living on an Internet desert island. Report