I am working with a visiting scholar from China, and part of my collaborative process is to use a shared document through the cloud based LaTeX service called Overleaf. The scholar I am working with said that she cannot use Overleaf because she is Chinese and that China doesn't allow "Google."

I know that there are Chinese researchers that use GitHub, for instance, so cloud based storage can't be completely out. It's hard for me to get a straight answer, since her English is spotty. I'm not sure where the connection between Google and Overleaf is coming from.

Is there a limitation on the usage of Overleaf and similar services imposed by the Chinese government?

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    As far as I know, Overleaf has nothing to do with Google. – Thomas Feb 7 at 19:40
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    @Thomassupportsmonica Yeah, it's a company that is completely independent from Google. I'm guessing her reticence comes from some sort of anxiety concerning Chinese censorship, which as Xuq01 points out is unfounded in this case. – Joel Feb 7 at 19:50
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    Overleaf supports registering and logging in via a Google account. So probably a misunderstanding on her behalf. – lighthouse keeper Feb 7 at 20:10
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    @lighthousekeeper That might be it. Thanks, I'll bring it up. – Joel Feb 7 at 20:13
  • Please clarify: Is the presumed issue about her using Overleaf while being a visiting scholar at your location or about her continuing to use Overleaf after she has returned to China? The title sounds like it's the latter, while the question body makes sound like the former. – O. R. Mapper Feb 7 at 21:32

No. I have no idea what is going on. The Chinese government blocks Google but does not forbid its citizens from using Google abroad, for example. There is no law forbidding the use of Google or Overleaf, and the government could not care less.

I'm not sure what they are up to or if there is a misunderstanding.

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    Ok thank you for the clarification. She might just not understand what Overleaf is, or think that I'm trying to get her to use Google. I'll press a little more to see if I can get her to use Overleaf. I didn't want to say anything more if it might cause her problems. The language barrier is pretty large. She knows enough to get around in the states, but verbal academic exchanges are proving challenging. At least she can write well enough for us to get ideas back and forth. – Joel Feb 7 at 19:48

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