Kindle bypasses Great Firewall of China

Although the Kindle is not officially available behind the bamboo curtain, the ereader is part of a growing grey market for those who want to avoid state web censorship.

According to the South China Morning Post, it is the 3G version of the Kindle which is doing well because it automatically leaps the so-called “Great Firewall” of China.

Amazon says it is not able to ship the Kindle to mainland China or offer content in the country, which has the world’s largest internet community at more than 420 million web users.

But you can pick up a Kindle on the streets of Beijing. One suppler has sold 300 in the past month and AFP found dozens of Kindles available on web auction site Taobao.

It is not cheap, but several Chinese bloggers have been pushing the the device as a way to get onto Facebook and other Social Notworking sites.

The reason is that the 3G Kindle uses global system mobile (GSM) communication technology, which gives Wi-Fi coverage in more than 100 countries, including China.

Professor Lawrence Yeung Kwan, of the University of Hong Kong’s electrical and electronic engineering department thinks that mainland internet patrols might have overlooked the gadget.

He said because the Kindle has a book-buying focus, the censors may think these connections are relatively safe. But he Amazon Whispernet is effectively unmonitored.