Client needs to overcome the Great Firewall in Mainland China
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How to Circumvent the Great Firewall in China

VPN recommendations for Mainland China

Problem

A client needs to circumvent the Great Firewall, either because they live, or are travelling to, Mainland China, but:

  • VPN servers are frequently blocked in Mainland China.
  • There is some evidence that the Great Firewall has the ability to selectively block VPN traffic.
  • Some VPN providers do not respect users’ privacy.
  • Tor is blocked in Mainland China.

Solution

VPNs

The solution we propose to the client will depend on what they need.

If the user is just interested in circumvention, they can use a VPN.

Sometimes some of these tools will work in some regions or circumstances and not in others, and some of them may be blocked at the ISP level, so the best strategy is to set up several VPNs before the client travels to China, so that they have more than one option in case one doesn’t work.

A good resource to identify available and functional VPN services in China is Great Fire.

From recent reports, we have seen that AirVPN works in Beijing and uProxy and ExpressVPN work in Shanghai.

Recently we’ve also been informed that TunnelBear doesn’t work in Shanghai.

We can offer the client free accounts for AirVPN and uProxy.

Tor

In China Tor may be blocked, so it is important to add bridges, specifically meek bridges, to the Tor setup. A howto for using meek bridges can be found here.

The client should install Tor Browser before they travel, since the Tor project page is blocked in China.


Comments

As of October 2017, AirVPN worked for phones in Beijing. Several circumvention tools (e.g. Lantern, ShadowSocks, ShadowSocks R, Psiphon, Tor) are likely to be blocked in certain networks. vyprvpn (free version) and AnchorFree (free version) worked in Beijing with a DSL broadband provided by either China Telecom or a local provider, but not with video streaming, just for emails and instant messaging.