Conquer the Great Firewall: Is it legal in China to Use VPN?
- December 25, 2022
- 11 minutes Read
- VPN Service
China is a country that is traditional and has a loyal approach to its virtues. Therefore, there has always been a lot of restriction on internet usage. Even when people were not in touch with the Internet, the Great Firewall has been preventing content that does not adhere to their standards and values.
What is the GFW?
Let’s go back a bit and see what the GFW is. Not the Great Wall of China, but the Great Firewall. For starters, you cannot see the Great Firewall, but it is always on the move.
The People’s Republic of China uses a mix of technological and legislative measures known as “The Great Firewall” to control access to the Internet within its borders. There is a Transmission Control Protocol that keeps particular hashtags, keywords, and triggering words in check. If those words appear in the transmission protocol packet, GFW detects them, and access to the link is closed. In addition, the government owns all the ISP services so that they can restrict and block them according to their will. China does not have access to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia, so if any foreign company wants to conduct business inside China, it must adapt to the local and domestic applications and media.
VPN in China
As you go through this article, you must know the background of VPNs.
These are some of the topics we are going to discuss ahead.
- What are VPNs?
- Why do we need a VPN?
- Features of a VPN
- Are VPNs legal in China?
- How to use a VPN in China?
What are VPNs?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It works exactly as its name suggests. It creates a virtual network for you to use the Internet privately. VPNs help you to browse your Internet privately by creating a separate network that is not accessible by anyone. However, when using the Internet daily, your internet service provider (ISP) generally keeps track of your online activities. VPNs help you to prevent that. They also help you to protect your essential data from being stolen online.
Why Do You Need a VPN?
We can list many reasons to convince you why you might need a VPN. But you need to know why it might be hazardous not having one. The Internet is now a must-have, no matter wherever you are. If you don’t have an internet connection, you are probably 100 steps behind the world. So while you are all giddy getting that internet connection from your service provider, you might not know this, but your ISP knows everything you do online. When visiting websites, your data passes through your ISP’s gateway servers, ensuring that your ISP keeps an eye on your browsing history.
Here is where the VPN comes in. Connecting a VPN to your device creates a different gateway server that doesn’t lead your data to the ISP. Instead, it makes you anonymous on the Internet. VPN service providers have their servers, which makes your data pass through them instead of the ISP servers, and you remain safe. So you may not have a problem with your ISP seeing it, or it’s not a significant safety hazard. But what if I tell you that your ISP and hackers are waiting for the right time to steal the precious data you have worked so hard on?
With modern technology evolving rapidly, hackers are not far behind. They might be a couple of steps ahead of us. They are like leeches waiting for someone to make a slip-up, and they have everything they need from a company in the palm of their hands. When an employee works for a company on a large scale, he has access to many confidential data. There might be an emergency where the said employee has to sit in a cafeteria and work. But what about the free Wi-Fi he uses to get his job done? These public Wi-Fi connections are absolutely for anyone to use, and anyone can take data without you knowing. The next thing you see is all your company’s data in the hands of some hacker using it to demand some money and maybe selling them off to someone who might need i.
It sounds pretty scary, but this is the most critical reason for VPN use. It doesn’t matter where you use the Internet; you will be safe. The VPN acts as a shield to protect your identity and location.
Secondly, you may be a traveler or someone working remotely trying to access the bank in your region or want to watch Tiktok from China. This is not possible, but it is a cup of tea if you have a VPN. VPNs have dedicated servers across the world. If you want to be connected to a bank in Australia but in the UAE, you can select a server based in Australia and connect it to your device. Then you will be able to access your desired bank in Australia.
This applies to geo-restricted websites and content as well. For example, there might be some shows you cannot watch because it is available in the USA only. But then you have a VPN. With a VPN, you can connect to a USA server and enjoy the show you eagerly awaited.
Features of a VPN
Previously, we discussed why you might need a VPN. However, to have a more in-depth idea regarding a VPN, here are some features that will answer many of your questions.
Encryption – this is an essential feature. It ensures none of your information is out for the world to see. A VPN will convert your data into something unrecognizable while passing through their tunnel, and the receiver will receive the data you sent. This protects your data from getting leaked.
Split Tunneling – helps you choose which applications you want to pass through the local Internet and which to use a VPN. You can use Spotify without a VPN, but at the same time want to work on something official. You can use the split tunneling method to VPN on your browser while using Spotify without a VPN.
Kill Switch– this feature is a crucial one. This ensures that your Internet gets disconnected when your device is disconnected from the VPN. This feature was implemented to prevent unprecedented data leakage.
No Log Policy– This feature is a must-have for any VPN service provider. When customers sign up for a VPN, they expect complete security. Keeping logs can put that security in a hazardous situation.
Multiple Device Access – When buying a premium VPN service, you want to use it on various devices, including your phones, laptops/computers, and TV. Most VPN service providers do not provide simultaneous device access with one account. This is an essential feature for a VPN user.
Check out more must-have features of any VPN.
Are VPNs Legal in China?
Now that you have learned about the bits and pieces of a VPN, it is time to address the vital question lurking around. Are VPNs legal in China?
Yes, VPNs are legal in China. There is no restriction for VPN users as long as there are not used for heinous crimes. However, using VPNs that the government does not authorize is officially prohibited in China since these services must provide the government backdoor access to be permitted, making them insecure. But rather than people, businesses and corporations are covered by this statute. The general audience has never faced any punishment or lawsuit for using a VPN. So, it is safe to say no one gets cases for using a VPN in China.
How to use a VPN in China?
To use a VPN in China, you need to download, install and sign up for the VPN service of your choice. However, Gmail is unavailable in China, so you need an email account except for Gmail. Nevertheless, the process of using a VPN is relatively easy.
- Download the VPN of your choice
- Install it on your desired device
- Sign-up with an email and password.
It is highly preferred to get a premium account. This is because you can access many more servers and features with a premium account which you do not get from a free account.
How to Download VPN in an Android Device in China from PlayStore?
You might be aware that you cannot access PlayStore in China. So how would you download a VPN for your Android app? Here is a small step-by-step guide.
- Visit the website of your preferred VPN service provider to purchase a plan.
- Access the VPN provider’s website using your phone.
- Download the.apk file next.
- Open the file after it has finished downloading (try not to use Google Play to open the .apk file)
- Launch the program, then sign up and connect with your VPN.
While you might find it difficult to choose a good VPN service in this massive sea of VPNs, we are here to help you out with it too. Here are the top 5 VPNs that have shown remarkable performance in China after testing for months.
- Symlex VPN
- Nord VPN
- Express VPN
- Vyper VPN
- TunnelBear VPN
Symlex VPN is currently one of the most popular VPNs, as they have successfully entered the Chinese market quickly. It has over 100 serves across 65 countries. It has AES-256-bit military-grade encryption, making it very secure and private from the outside world, perfect to use in China. They also have dedicated servers for users in China, which makes them stand out in this crowd.
Symlex VPN is available in App Store, Huawei Store, Amazon Store, and Play Store. Symlex VPN can be used on Android, iOS, macOS, or Windows devices. Symlex VPN also has a kill switch. One of its specialties is the double VPN protocol they have, Sympro, which is basically one VPN over the other, resulting in double security. The best part of Symlex VPN is its astoundingly reasonable pricing. Only $7.99 a month, $17.99 for 3 months, $24.99 for 6 months, and $33.99 for a year. However, here is a catch. They currently provide a lifetime VPN service for $249.99 for unlimited use. Symlex VPN can be used across 5 devices simultaneously. It can also unblock USA Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, Hostar, HBO, and Hulu.
All 3,000 servers across 94 locations that make up Express VPN have obfuscation technologies already installed. You can avoid having it blocked in China by concealing your VPN connection. Additionally, it maintains a list of servers across the USA, Europe, and Asia that are frequently checked to ensure they function in China. They update a list on their website, so you know which servers work in China. These 5 servers enabled us to effortlessly access Facebook, WhatsApp, Netflix, and YouTube. Additionally, according to ExpressVPN, it is advised to choose the “Automatic protocol” option to ensure that your connection is obscured.
A NordVPN server closest to your location will give you good speed from among its more than 5,500 servers spread over 59 nations. In addition, it offers excellent encryption to shield consumers from internet threats and privacy concerns. You only need to launch the app and connect to any Nord VPN server to use in China. You should activate one of their upgraded security measures because China’s internet censorship may vary locally and yearly. It will enable you to choose the finest connection technique designed especially for connecting from a nation with device restrictions.
VyprVPN continuously adjusts its server network to offer quick download and upload times for trouble-free browsing. It has 700 servers in 70 countries. You can browse the Internet as much as possible because it provides unlimited bandwidth. In addition, its Chameleon protocol is a cutting-edge obfuscation technique developed to get over Chinese internet censorship. To further enhance privacy and security, VyprVPN also owns the entirety of its server infrastructure.
Its Fastest Tunnel feature locates the fastest available server when you’re in China. This is accomplished by connecting you to the closest server, which shortens the distance your data must travel and boosts speeds. In addition, the security and privacy features of TunnelBear enable risk-free internet surfing in China. It includes VigilantBear, a kill switch that will cut your internet connection if your VPN disconnects and AES 256-bit encryption to make your connection impenetrable. The only drawback is, TunnelBear doesn’t have a refund policy.
There might be a lot of internet restrictions in my country, but as long as you have chosen the right VPN for yourself, it is not a problem. VPNs are always rendered safe for your safety, security, and privacy, no matter what country you are operating from. So choose the perfect VPN and bypass the Great Firewall.