The Mongols got past the Great Wall of China by going around it rather than through it. Somehow, I just managed to do the same in Chengdu.
I'm traveling on business at the Sheraton (Starwood of course) and lo and behold, when I log on I get Google.com.hk. So, I try accessing my blog, and sure enough I get through. For some reason, and somehow, the hotel has an internet access connection via Hong Kong. I'm not a networking expert, but my guess is that it is running on a private connection over the hotel's internal network with its other hotels, or that it's a satellite connection. Either one would explain the incredibly slow speeds and long delays in the connection, but the surprising access to the outside world.