“I really didn’t like it,” said Zhang, standing outside a popular Beijing shopping mall.

Then she cautiously lowered her voice and said, “But a friend of mine gave me a program where I can log in and I can visit all those websites again. Many of my friends are also using the same program.”…

Known as fanqiang, or “scaling the wall,” these work-arounds typically involve tapping into remote servers located outside China that aren’t subject to Chinese government control. Although these skills are largely the province of tech-savvy Chinese bloggers and students, word is spreading fast about how to gain access to taboo sites.

If Google does end up leaving China, experts said, it could be a Pyrrhic victory for Beijing. The company’s warning that it will exit the country rather than be party to more censorship has won praise among some Internet users here. Millions who once relied on the search engine’s services may become more defiant of government controls and more motivated to learn how to get around the Great Firewall.