While many people go to China because of work or they are travelling around the continent. Many are unaware of the lack of internet access in the country.
They may be aware of some key sites being blocked in China. However, once you look at the numbers that are stopped by the Great Firewall of China, it is a real eye-opener.
Much of your daily online activities can go missing thanks to the communist party in China. You may wish to keep in touch with friends while traveling, yet without a workaround, this will be impossible.
Here, you can learn more about Chinese internet use. You will also see how you can use all the services you need for business, or how you can access your social media apps.
While the Great Firewall is highly effective, using our workaround, you can have some resemblance of normal internet experience.
Why Do Countries Block Websites?
Different countries are blocking online content because of a variety of motives, which are often based around cultural norms or political considerations.
For example, India employs public safety as a reason for enacting laws to restrict certain websites.
Other countries like Qatar predominantly block sites containing pornography or content they claim offends the feelings of its citizens. Social media an addition here as well.
For example, the Russian Federation has been blocking child pornography, and also online content that contains material promoting drug abuse, suicides, or “hard-core extremism”.
A growing number of governments will also block websites of their political opposition, humanitarian and human rights organizations and some independent media.
Often, national security is a significant reason or thoughts of security breaches or exposure to government actions such as those in China. You may find it strange that China doesn’t ban social media; it just prohibits social media platforms from outside the country.
You will also discover countless Western countries are blocking sites such as torrent sites and free movie streaming internet sites to combat piracy. You will see examples of governments blocking sites or domains under the pretense of stopping copyright or trademark infringement.
Is Facebook Banned in China
Facebook has been blocked in China in the wake of the Ürümqi riots that occurred in July 2009. The reason for the blockage was that Xinjiang independence activists had been using Facebook to communicate with each other, and Facebook claimed not to have given the activists’ any politically sensitive information. (Read How to Access Facebook in China)
Is YouTube Blocked in China?
In the course of internet censorship in China, YouTube remained blocked from October 16, 2007, to March 22, 2008, during a period of several months.
But on March 24, 2009, nobody was willing to confirm or deny that YouTube was blocked again.
Moreover, since that date, it has not been possible to access YouTube inside the Great Firewall. China established this as part of its struggle to stop politically sensitive data about the Communist Party leaving the country.
Does Skype Work in China
At the moment, Skype is continuing to work in China. However, you might experience poor voice and video call quality.
Furthermore, your calls may also be monitored by other parties as part of internet censorship.
Using virtual private networks with Skype has the potential to improve the quality of Skype’s performance significantly, and may also prevent you from being monitored by these other parties.
Why is Google Banned in China?
All Google’s services in China have been blocked China by the Great China Firewall in the People’s Republic of China, like many other internet companies.
In 2010, all Google search sites, including Google Mobile, shifted from Mainland China into Hong Kong.
In response to a Chinese government-led hacking attack against itself and other U.S. companies, the company announced it would no longer censor searches in China and would withdraw from the country as appropriate.
Google then began redirecting search queries from Google.cn to Google.com.hk hosted in Hong Kong, offering uncensored search results.
What Websites are Blocked in China?
China is blocking thousands of websites, and the numbers are well over 8,000. It is the task of the filtering system known as “The Great Firewall” to enforce Chinese censorship of internet use.
They do this to supposedly protect Chinese citizens from external influences and misinformation, which may be detrimental to the Chinese leadership or the country.
Here you will find some of the popular internet companies that you may use for your work or leisure and which could be missing and blocked by the Chinese if you were to travel to China.
Social Platforms and Apps
- Facebook and Instagram
- Twitter and Snapchat
- Pinterest, Tumblr and Tinder
- Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
- Telegram and Slack
- Signal and Kakao Talk
- YouTube and Vimeo
- Netflix, Twitch.tv, Vevo, Hulu
- Fox, NBC, HBO, SyFy, Soundcloud, Spotify and Dailymotion
- New York Times
- The Guardian
- Business Insider
- The Independent
Online Cloud Storage
- Google Drive
Information & Sharing
- Many torrent sites (Pirate Bay etc.)
- Google Maps
- Google Play Store
- Getty Images
- The Bodyshop USA
The above is a tiny fraction of the total number of sites that are blocked on Chinese internet.
You will find anything Google or anything to do with social media will be stopped by the Great Firewall of China censorship of the internet. This works both ways, although many people think of it being a one-way thing. (Read Why is Google Blocked in China?)
You try to find a website of China, and you can face the same issues.
Why are Certain Websites Blocked in China?
The main reasons any websites are blocked in China is because they think the content they contain is of particular bad influence.
Also, they see that foreigners can learn more about the country and the strict control the Chinese government agencies enforce.
While the Great Firewall does a great job of stopping most of what they deem as not suitable, there is a workaround you can use to significant effect. (Read Can I Use NordVPN in China?)
If you use a virtual private network, you can connect to servers that sit on the edges of the country. Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are all locations a VPN company needs to have servers.
Besides this, a VPN must have some way to hide your communication because the deep packet encryption can see what is inside the data packets. Any mention of Facebook or Google, even in an email, and it will be stopped.
VPN’s use military-grade encryption as their primary fight against internet censorship.
You can find many VPN’s offer excellent services, yet being able to go undetected by the Great Firewall is something very different as not all can do this task. You may find several that are capable, and they do this by a mix of their encryption and using obfuscated servers.
The way this works is the VPN providers use unique algorithms that hide the use of a VPN from view. Many detection systems can be bypassed in such a manner. Netflix and the BBC iPlayer blocking techniques can be avoided in the same way.
However, behind the Great Firewall, you can enable your VPN client to use obfuscated servers, and then you can easily connect to the servers in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan with no restrictions.
You may see a slight slowdown in your connection speed, although this is minimal as the top VPN providers make sure they deliver the fastest download speeds possible, in every country where they operate.
Using the Right VPN
One thing traveler’s to China may overlook, and that is to have your VPN in place before you enter the country. You may think using a VPN in China is illegal, yet it is legal. (Read 4 Best VPNs for China)
Although for a VPN company to operate, they need approval from the government. Hence, they can restrict the services you can access.
Besides this, one group of services or websites missing off the lists above are VPN web pages. You won’t be able to download a VPN inside Mainland China, and thus, you need to subscribe before you enter the country. Do this on every device you need to access any Western services.
Once you are there, it is a matter of getting a decent internet connection from your hotel or mobile carrier/ coffee shop Wi-Fi and running your VPN client.
Once you log in, you can select a server outside of China, and then you will be able to access foreign internet as if you were back at home.
You may think a VPN is just to bypass China censorship of internet, and access blocked content by the Chinese.
However, you can find many websites that are blocked back home, or you still need to keep your internet use private.