China has the largest population; and is one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies. But when it comes to freedom on the internet, they are last in the ranking. Internet access in China is severely censored and many of the popular services are unavailable behind the “Great Firewall.”
The Great Firewall (known as GFW) is a combination of technologies and various legislative measures enforced by the government of China to regulate the Internet content available within the boundaries of the country.
It blocks selected foreign websites and thus limiting access to foreign internet tools. But this also has led to the development of the domestic companies and minimizes the impact of foreign Internet companies.
The use of VPNs
China’s online censorship system has made it a hot spot for the VPN providers. If you are coming to China for work or travel or living here and you use the internet, you need a VPN to access Google, Facebook, YouTube, and many other blocked apps and websites such as torrent sites.
As the government has blocked some VPNs too and is regularly blocking more, it would be hard to find a free VPN that works in China. Even if they work, they would be slow. There are some alternatives like Lantern and Tor which are more like proxy services. They are working, but they aren’t of much help either when speed is needed.
Nothing can be 100% guaranteed when talking about China. Bypassing the GFW is an ongoing game of cat-and-mouse. And the situation is, like most of the other VPN, China may have blocked the service next time you try to use it.
VPNs working in China
If you are wondering which VPN has a satisfactory service in China, there are quite a few reliable ones. The most popular ones include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Astrill.
Being the market leader of VPNs, Express VPN does work in China, but it is the NordVPN which is more efficient in the current scenario. It keeps itself updated with the policy changes in China’s GFW and is quick in implementing the required changes to its infrastructure. It requires some dedicated manpower and thus shows Nord is serious about the Chinese market.
For those who want a lot of simultaneous connections at a low price, Nord is the best VPN service to choose. It is based in Panama, keeps no logs at all and thus supports privacy. It has a great encryption system and also supports payment through Bitcoin. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee too if you are not happy with the service.
NordVPN also supports obfsproxy, the same technology various services use to evade censorship blocks and is considered very robust.
Is VPN Illegal?
One of the most common questions people ask is, Are VPNs illegal in China? Well, there is no straightforward answer. It’s still a grey area
As China censors the content of the Internet, it is technically not legal to use VPNs. Although individuals are not punished if they are found to be using one, it can be a bit troublesome for them at times. The businesses, however, need to take approval from the authorities if they feel the need to use a VPN.