Is using a VPN in China illegal?

Is using a VPN in China illegal?

If you are going to travel to China or be an expat there, here are some facts that you need to know about Chinese internet censorship. You might wonder if a VPN is illegal in China, so let’s go and check it.

China is seen as the king of Web filtering with its famous Great Firewall. The government restricts and monitor access to foreign websites among others has been set and is quite efficient indeed. But VPN are efficient to go around those censorship constraints.

  • Why did China build the Great Firewall?

The Great Firewall 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 government 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 to access foreign websites and social media in China?

It is indeed true that the Great Firewall is no longer an impenetrable wall, due to there are many ways to visit Facebook, YouTube, Google or Twitter from within China. But the best and easiest way is to use a VPN. Chinese leaders continually block information-sharing services like Twitter. A VPN is reliable and can address these types of issues.

  • Can China completely block all VPN services?

China government can also but does not block VPN services completely. Actually, China is completely able to block VPN servers. During the 18th National Congress of China, many protocols (including PPTP, L2TP and IPSec) were blocked along with Astrill and 12 other VPN. It indicates that China does not have the capacity to block all the VPN providers. It is indeed not what the Great Firewall is built for. The core objective of The Great Firewall is to keep the environment stable. As many foreign businesses need a VPN for their secure services, blocking all the VPN traffic completely would indeed strangle foreign business operations in China.

Besides, VPN providers usually have various servers and can change the IP addresses so once one server is blocked, it can still be changed and available again rather quickly. Interestingly, the main websites of most VPN providers are blocked but there are few exceptions. Le VPN is one of the paid services that has not being blocked in China and still works fine.

  • Is using a VPN in China illegal?

You can feel that China has always quite active blocking VPN services, so you may wonder if using a VPN in China is illegal. You can get relaxed about it: no, it is not illegal to use a VPN in China. Many voices are trying to say that VPN usage is illegal in China, but this is not true at all. It wasn’t until quite recently that the Chinese government even openly admitted that it censored the Internet. Actually, China has no real explicit government regulation on VPN usage either. No one has never ever been arrested in China for using a VPN. So you can just access Facebook and YouTube without any problem.

  • How frequent VPNs are used in China to go around censorship?

Being mad about this control, many natives have learnt to get around it, and using a VPN is very common in China. GlobalWebIndex recently released a report on the use of VPNs as a way to access restricted social media. The report indicates that there are 90 million VPN users in China have accessed restricted social networks. This represents a big figure as it accounts for about 20% of the country. VPNs are in great demand for both individuals and companies in China. So choose Le VPN for China today to access free internet, without trouble.



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Comments (1)

  • Josh

    I would challenge you a bit on your answer to the legality of a VPN in China. I agree that no explicit law exists which says it is illegal to use a VPN, but that’s quite common in China – much of Chinese law is intentionally ambiguous.

    For instance, in Xinjiang, a province in western China, anybody caught using a VPN would have their phone service cut off until they visited a police station where any VPNs were forcibly removed.

    As I’ve stated about the legality of VPNs in China before, China always seems to intentionally make this a grey area. Have they imprisoned Chinese nationals for using a VPN? Yes, they have. Is using a VPN legal? Technically, yes.

    But with China, there’s always more to the story.

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