China is considered the king of Web filtering, It’s system of monitoring and restricting access to overseas internet content is dubbed the ‘Great Firewall’. If you are on a trip to China, there are some facts you need to know about Chinese internet censorship.
Why did China build the Great Firewall?
The Great Firewall(GFW) is built to control or censor online communications, because China needs a stable political environment in which to develop economy. Anything that goes against the govt is blocked. Websites related to illegal content or not satisfying its criteria, are targeted to be blocked. For domestic sites that contain “inappropriate material”, will draw a direct intervention by Chinese government. Over 20,000 websites are blocked from within mainland China, most of them are top global websites. News websites, discussion forums, search engines and social media websites are principal targets of censorship.
How can you visit Facebook in China?
The GFW can always outsmart. Today it’s no longer an impenetrable wall, there are a lot of ways to visit Facebook, YouTube, Google from within China. But the best and easiest way is using a VPN. Chinese leaders continually block information-sharing services like Twitter. VPN is reliable and can address the ongoing pressures. We’ve writen an article about why VPN is the best solution for China.
Can China completely block all VPN services? Will it?
It can also (but do not) block VPN services completely. Actually, China is fully capable of blocking all VPN servers. During the 18th National Congress of China, many protocols (including PPTP, L2TP and IPSec) were blocked along with Astrill and 12VPN. It indicates that China knows which VPN service is popular, and has no capacity to block all VPN services. But that’s not what the Great Firewall is built for.
The highest objective of The GFW is to keep the environment stable. Since many foreign businesses need VPN for their secure services. Block VPN traffic completely would effectively strangle foreign business operations in China so they are probably lobbying to keep some VPN access.
VPN providers usually have numerous servers and can change the IPs of these so once one server is blocked, it can be changed and available again rather quickly. Interestingly, the main websites of most VPN providers are blocked but there are two exceptions: HideMyAss and VyprVPN.
Is using a VPN in China illegal?
You can see China has always been busy blocking VPN services, so is using a VPN in China illegal? The answer is NO, It’s NOT illegal using a VPN in China. There are many voices saying that VPN usage is illegal in China, but they are not true. Actually, China has no real explicit government regulation on VPN usage. As natives of China, we’ve never heard anyone in China arrested for using a VPN for lawful purpose. So if you just visit Facebook and YouTube, you’re going to be just fine.
How common is VPN usage in China to circumvent censorship?
Tired of control, many natives have learn to get around it, which is very common. GlobalWebIndex recently released a report on the use of VPNs and Proxy Servers as a way to access restricted social networks. The report indicates that there are 90 million VPN users in China have accessed restricted social networks – about 20 percent of the country. These are actual numbers. VPN industry is booming in China. As you type in “VPN” on Baidu, China’s largest search engine, you will find many China VPN providers. It means VPNs are in great demand. In many companies, it’s extremely common for companies to have VPNs so they can access to free internet without trouble.