Planning A Trip To China? Make Sure You Stay Online

For years now, people have been using mobile VPNs to try and get past the strict censorship in China. There’s no guarantee that all VPN services will work anymore. China’s Great Wall is one of the country’s most distinctive features. However, the country is now famous for having another wall – the “Great Firewall of China”, thanks to its government. Most Chinese citizens are used to this system. However, immigrants and travellers will have a hard time adjusting. There’s no quick solution to this issue, unfortunately. But read on to find out more about how China’s internet censorship works and what can be done about it. 

The Great Firewall of China

The internet was made available to ordinary Chinese citizens in 1995. At the time, the Chinese government welcomed this new development and showed outward support for its potential. However, they were already starting to lay down the plans for better control.

Fast forward to the early 2000s when the government started using the “Golden Shield.” It was effectively the start of the “Great Firewall.” This technology allowed them to monitor any data sent over the internet as well as block IPs and domains. They also passed laws to ensure internet service providers’ full cooperation. This is still going on today, and it doesn’t look like China will be seeing less government intervention anytime soon. Understandably, this has had a widespread impact on the ideas and lifestyles of Chinese citizens.

All this censorship has a huge negative impact on the reliability and speed of the Chinese internet as well. It’s well-known for being slow and unreliable at best, and the situation seems to be getting worse, not better.

What Does The Chinese Internet Look Like Today?

Years ago, Chinese citizens actively used VPN technology to get around any government internet interventions. But a hard VPN ban came down in 2015. It made it extremely hard to find a reliable VPN service that worked in the country.

Now, citizens have to rely on Chinese search engines like Baidu, apps like WeChat, and many other regulated websites. By all accounts, Chinese citizens have become virtually isolated and can only access pre-approved media. Things that are popular in the West, like Google, Social Media, and most news sites are not available in China.

Chinese have become used to the internet they have access to. But this can be a huge handicap for anyone travelling to China. Outsiders will have a hard time adjusting to the limits of the Chinese internet. Especially since social media and communication services like WhatsApp and Skype are banned. Not to mention the difficulty of getting around without Google Maps.

Will Using a Mobile VPN Help?

It isn’t technically illegal to use a VPN in China. Many Chinese companies do it because they wouldn’t be able to work internationally otherwise. But they have to get a permit to do so, which is why VPNs aren’t blocked altogether.

Individuals can’t get a VPN permit in China, but the government does try to make it as inconvenient as possible to use one. VPN domains and popular IP addresses are often blocked and ISPs are continually on the lookout for VPN use. This hasn’t stopped many Chinese citizens, foreign immigrants, and visitors from using the technology, however.

So the short answer is yes, it will help. But it does come with strings attached. The government makes it hard for people to access VPNs and also for VPN services to operate. It’s therefore important to seek out a mobile VPN provider that has the resources to stay one step ahead. There’s also no guarantee that a VPN or server that works today will work tomorrow.

Getting over the wall of Chinese internet restrictions might be a nuisance, but it can be done. Just make sure to do thorough research on which VPNs are currently working. It might also be a good idea to stick to monthly subscriptions for easier switching between VPN services. 

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