Technology Challenges in China

Technology Considerations When Traveling to China

Accessing and using technology when in China can be challenging. Some University of Minnesota students, staff, and faculty have been unable to access their UMN email and even some University websites while in China. Travelers should also consider potential export control and data security issues before leaving for China.

The following are some resources and advice that the University and GPS Alliance recommends to anyone traveling to China. The situation in China is constantly changing, so this information will be updated as necessary.

If you have technology issues while in China, please contact the University's Technology Help for immediate assistance.

Please let us know of any issues you have in China so we can update the advice below as appropriate. Contact Kevin Dostal Dauer with the GPS Alliance International Health, Safety, and Compliance Team at dauer001@umn.edu or 612-625-5107.

U of M Travelers to China

Accessing Technology in China

You may be unable to access your UMN email from China, so if you are planning to travel to China, we encourage you to do the following:

1. Set Up Your VPN Before You Leave

Using the University’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) may make it easier for you to access UMN email and websites while in China, although the reliability can vary depending on your local Internet connection. Download and set up the VPN on your computer and any mobile devices you use to access email (including iPads and smart phones) before departing for China, as it may not be possible to download it there. The newest version of the VPN and instructions are available on the IT@UMN website.

2. Set Up an Email Forward Before You Leave

You may wish to set up an automatic forward so all of your UMN emails are sent to a second email address that you can more easily access in China (currently, it appears that most email services except Gmail are accessible, such as Yahoo and Hotmail). Directions for setting up email forwarding are available from IT@UMN or in Gmail’s Help section*. Make sure to regularly check the spam folder on your second email account as some email providers route forwarded messages there. If you need help with installing the VPN or setting up an email forward, please contact UMN Technology Help.

*Note: Some UMN accounts (primarily AHC students and employees) may not be allowed to forward their email. See more info on using Google Apps in the AHC.

3. Contact Technology Help

If you need assistance while you are in China, the University’s Technology Help provides 24/7 support via phone and email.

Note: If you have set up a restriction to only do a password reset in person, Technology Help will not be able to help you reset your password while you are in China. Until you remove the limitation, technical support staff can reset your password only in person, on campus, at one of our walk-in locations.

4. Contact the U of M China Office

The University’s China Office in Beijing can also be a resource for you. Please contact the office to share any questions or concerns you have while in China.

Other Technology Considerations

Export Controls

Export controls are federal regulations that govern certain transfers of technology to non-U.S. persons and destinations. All travelers to China should review the GPS Alliance Export Controls webpage and contact the University's Export Controls Officer with any questions or concerns related to export controls.

Encryption of Data

Encrypting laptops and other electronic devices is often a way to protect sensitive data in case a device is lost or stolen; however, many countries, including the U.S., restrict encrypted devices from entering the country. The University strongly advises travelers to China NOT to take any sensitive information and NOT take an encrypted laptop with them overseas under any circumstances. Do NOT use encryption on any of your clean travel devices. For more information, please review the Technology Guidance for International Travelers webpage.

Other Technology Resources

Find general technology resources for international travelers on the GPS Alliance Travel Resources webpage.

Chinese Students and Scholars

Remember that your UMN email address is the University’s official way to contact you with important notices. All studentsand scholars are responsible for checking their email and knowing this information.

You may be unable to access your UMN email from China, so if you are planning to travel home to China, we encourage you to do the following:

1. Set Up Your VPN Before Returning to China

Using the University’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) may make it easier for you to access UMN email and websites while in China, although the reliability can vary depending on your local Internet connection. Download and set up the VPN on your computer and any mobile devices you use to access email (including iPads and smart phones) before returning to China, as it may not be possible to download it there. The newest version of the VPN and instructions are available on the IT@UMN website.

2. Set Up an Email Forward Before Returning to China

You may wish to set up an automatic forward so all of your UMN emails are sent to a second email address that you can more easily access in China. Directions for doing this are available from IT@UMN or in Gmail’s Help section*. Make sure to regularly check the spam folder on your second email account, as some email providers route forwarded messages there. If you need help with installing the VPN or setting up an email forward, please contact the University's Technology Help.

*Note: Some UMN accounts (primarily AHC students and employees) may not be allowed to forward their email. See more info on using Google Apps in the AHC.

3. Contact Technology Help

If you need assistance while you are in China, the University’s Technology Help provides 24/7 support via phone and email.

Note: If you have set up a restriction to only do a password reset in person, Technology Help will not be able to help you reset your password while you are in China. Until you remove the limitation, technical support staff can reset your password only in person, on campus, at one of our walk-in locations.

4. Contact the U of M China Office

The University’s China Office in Beijing can also be a resource for you. Please contact the office to share any questions or concerns you have while in China. You may want to sign up to receive messages from the office's WeChat official account (“UMNChina”).