Censorship in China isn't consistent.
...that is to say; censorship varies depending on which area you connect to the internet. In Beijing, censorship is present, youtube is now blocked, amongst other websites deemed inappropriate by the government. This includes some western porn sites, and the pirate bay. So its consistency is in fact its inconsistency.
Outside of Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong you'll have difficulty even accessing hotmail, never mind many western websites, including theregister. Due to the way in which TCP resets are used you'll never quite know what link in the chain is down when attempting to access a website, unlike in Saudi Arabia, where a default DNS page explains why you can't reach the page you're after.
People here really don't realise the news they're missing out on. A Chinese friend here commented on the G20 protests: "Why are so many people protesting, what difference can that make? The government allow this?" - a ridiculous display of the ambivalence you're Chinese person on the street has to the current government.
Mind you, as is the case with the UK, even if they had democracy, it's not guaranteed it would actually provide a better alternative.
I suspect when the economy begins to seriously affect the major cities, and not just rural locations, and jobs disappear, the government will have a really hard time justifying their Big Brother operation they've got going.