China’s Censorship: How Can You Evade It?
China is one of the most famous countries because of its rich history and culture. Other than the fact that China has over 1.3 billion people, they’ve made quite a few contributions to our time now, too. Home to a lot of different ancient cultures, it’s definitely a place to visit. The only problem is that, China’s internet is not like how it is in other countries. In fact, they have the most famous websites blocked.
China’s Great Firewall
China’s internet accesses are very limited. In fact, if you name a website, chances are, it’s blocked in China. The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is a mix of laws and technological manner imposed by the People’s Republic of China. As obvious as it sounds, its goal is to regulate China’s internet accesses domestically.
It’s quite tough when you think about it, but how did this Great Firewall really start? Who thought of this idea?
The history of the Great Firewall
To start, China did not impose this law when the internet first broke in. In fact, in 1994, the internet was seen and felt to be part of the Open Door Policy. With the help of Western countries, the goal was to reform their economy.
Things changed when the Chinese government followed Deng Xiaoping, the Chairman of the Central Advisory Commission. He expressed his idea from his favorite saying that “when you open the window, flies come in.” Since then, everything got changed.
Beginning the early 2000, the Great Firewall is becoming a reality. Its foundations were born along with the establishment of the Golden Shield Project. The Golden Shield Project is a national monitoring system which watches over every citizen’s record and connectivity to China’s organizations.
Jumping to our time now, this project employs more than 50,000 people to monitor and restrict the Chinese people from accessing websites that are part of their list.
What is the reason behind the restriction of websites?
It’s understandable – actually most, if not all countries have their own version of the GFW. They ban websites that are against their rules; they ban websites that spread hatred and gore; you know how it goes. But China’s reason is much more government-centered.
In their argument, China’s reason on why they block a majority of websites is to protect their national security as well as maintaining social order. Advocates say that the government is worried about the news published by Facebook and Google. That Chinese people might think about opposing the one-party rule.
So it’s safe to say that when you visit China, you won’t be able to go on Facebook for the time being.
How do Chinese people cope with the Firewall?
All of us can feel how difficult it is living in China. Especially with the digital world we live in now. How do people do homework there? How do they travel? What sites do they go on to? Well, the Chinese, of course, developed China’s own social media platforms.
For instance, they don’t have access to Facebook, right? Well, they have WeChat. Google, to add to that, is also restricted. The main search engine they use is Baidu. For traveling, they have their Chinese Uber called Didi.
They have developed all sorts of applications for their people. With this, the people are convinced that China’s all they need – that they don’t need support from other countries. China’s people have grown accustomed to what their country has to offer.
Would it tell you that the website’s blocked?
As obvious as it may seem, the GFW won’t tell you that you’re blocked – it just won’t load. You might forget it and you might think that your connection is not working, but it’ll appear like it’s continuing to load and load.
You won’t receive a message telling you that “The Republic of China has blocked this website.” If a site is blocked, it’s not going to load the specific web page.
How about Hong Kong and Macau? Do these restrictions apply?
Good news for everyone traveling in China’s autonomous regions. No, China’s GFW does not apply in these regions. So you’re free to use Facebook while down in Macau and in Hong Kong. However, the Chinese government still closely monitors these places so be careful.
Is there a way to evade China’s censorship?
But if you’re to visit mainland China, the GFW is strongly in effect there. Let me give you an example about how this works.
Say you’re going on a business trip to China. You need access to your Facebook because that’s how you communicate with your people back home. Since the GFW is in effect, accessing Facebook is not an option. You don’t have a way to tell your people to download WeChat instead.
How would you be able to access restricted websites while down there? Is there a legitimate way – without violating their rules – for you to be able to take that online business call?
Well, here’s one way to put it – you won’t unless you have a VPN. Yes, you can use a VPN in China but make sure that you have one before you go.
What is a VPN?
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a type of private connection that hides your internet traffic. What it does is that it encrypts the data you send and receive. Meaning, the Chinese government won’t be able to keep track of your online activity.
Yes, even internet service providers (ISPs) and the local government will be clueless. The data that would be coming in and out of your device will be encrypted – you would be safe.
But is VPN legal in China?
Everybody in China knows that they have theGFW in effect. People then would find different things on how they can bypass it. If you are not aware, VPNs are a major hit in the Chinese market. The Chinese government is not blocking VPNs because it’s part of the business.
Using a VPN in China is actually what most people and international companies do. In fact, big organizations use VPNs for their business every single day. VPNs are what keep these international Chinese organizations’ data safe and secure. Because of the protection promised by VPNs, Chinese organizations – even the government, loves it.
China does not plan on shutting down VPNs. Why? Because if they do, they’ll lose a large chunk of the business they deal with internationally. Especially now that China has tons of businesses circling the globe, it would be bad to shutdown VPNs.
What VPN providers are the best to use in China?
So if you plan to visit China, ensure that you subscribe or get a VPN service first before going there. You might find it challenging to download a VPN in China. So, to be prepared, have one before you leave. For the VPN clients, you can use whatever VPN you want, so long that they’re secure.
But, we have done some searching about different VPN providers. In fact, we were able to come up with the best VPN providers you can use in China.
- Number of servers: More than 3,000
- Speeds: Unlimited
- Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 5
- 24 live chat: Yes
- 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
- Fastest VPN out there
- Strict no logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Few discounts
Most people recommend ExpressVPN for their China trip. Other than ExpressVPN’s focus on the Chinese market, they also offer reliable speeds and secure connections. They have over 3,000 servers on the whole world, scattered over 60 countries in the world.
ExpressVPN also allows you to connect five devices at the same time under one subscription. Furthermore, it can be on any platform say, your computer, your tablet, your gaming console, your phone, even your TVs!
Are you still not convinced by the excellent service provided by ExpressVPN? Don’t worry because they have a 30-day money-back guarantee! If you think that they’re not living up to their promise, you can get your money back within 30 days!
The best thing about this is that it’s priced only at $12.95 a month for a 1 month subscription. If you get it for a year, though, it’s monthly is just going to be $8.32! You don’t just get a cheap but secure internet connection, you get better bandwidth too!
Does ExpressVPN work in China?
Definitely! In fact, it has been ranked the number one VPN service in China. ExpressVPN services over hundreds of thousands of clients in China – you can be one of them! Just be sure to subscribe and set it up before you leave. You might experience troubles accessing some sites while you’re down there. Read more about ExpressVPNs performance in China here.
- Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
- Servers: 5342 in 58 countries
- Lots of pricing options
- Netflix support kept up to date
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Slow app
NordVPN takes pride on their characteristic in being the most secure VPN there is. By encrypting all online traffic, it’ll be easy for you to connect and access whatever website you want. And you’re sure with NordVPN. Why? Because they have over 5,000 servers in over 59 countries!
With tons of servers they offer, you be sure of NordVPN! They offer the fastest VPN experience. Why? Because they have thousands of severs scattered all around the globe! NordVPN has been featured in world-famous websites and magazines such as TED, BBC, even Forbes!
The good news doesn’t stop there. NordVPN allows simultaneous connections of six devices under one subscription. So, you can connect your laptop, your phone, your iPad, whatever gadget you have!
For a price of $11.95 a month, you won’t worry about being blocked by anyone, anywhere anymore! Plus, getting the3-year plan will definitely save you a lot because the monthly’s just going to be $3.49!
Would NordVPN work in China?
Absolutely! Having over 5,000+ servers, it would almost be impossible not to connect wherever you are. With the number of servers they have, you can bank on them for a secure, fast, and easy-to-deal-with internet connection. Read more about NordVPNs performance in China here.
- P2P support? Yes
- 30-day money-back guarantee? Yes
- Country of origin? Switzerland
- Servers: 600+ in over 40 countries
- Simultaneous devices: 5
- Professional support
- Modern interface and apps
- AES-256 encryption
- Lesser known provider
With a team of journalists and activists, ProtonVPN brags about their priority being the security of every user. They have a Secured Core Network which prevents their servers to be compromised by anything. Being a Swiss-made VPN, ProtonVPN is what you want if you really intend on being secure.
Your true IP address will never be revealed, even when the endpoint server is compromised. With the security and protection ProtonVPN offers, you can be carefree while using the internet.
ProtonVPN also takes pride on their high bandwidth links that can provide optimum internet connections. With hundreds of servers all around the globe, you can enjoy fast and secured internet speeds for only $24 a month if you sign up for a yearly plan. It’s $30 if you take it on a month-to-month basis.
Would ProtonVPN work in China?
ProtonVPN is run and maintained by a team of specialists. They have developers, engineers, scientists, journalists, and activists who care about the internet’s future. Their goal is to be able to provide a secure and a fast connection where you are. Yes, it will most definitely work in China. Using ProtonVPN is safe, reliable, and is most definitely affordable.
With the technology we have now, no type of firewall is grand and unbreakable. Even the GFW can be bypassed via VPNs. So, if ever you plan on visiting China either for a vacation or a business trip, remember that there’s China’s Great Firewall. Do remember that the internet there is not like what we have. They have strict rules about what people of China should be able to access online.
Yes, you can definitely use a VPN in China and the government won’t arrest you .You just have to be mindful, though. Because if other people see you using it, they might report you – you can get in trouble.
Before you leave, make sure that you are subscribed to a VPN provider. It’s not just for your trip to China, you can also use it back home. By being protected from ISPs, the government, and cyber-criminals, what would a monthly price of $15 be? For complete protection from any kind of threat, paying $15 is actually cheap.
Don’t be afraid to use VPN while in China – no one will know you’re doing it. Again, large Chinese international organization use VPN for their own sake, too. What’s stopping you from doing your own thing while you’re there?