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The Great Firewall of China: How the Middle Kingdom Censors the Internet

China is the fastest growing economy in the world which also takes the lead when it comes to technology. China is all set to become the first country in the world to launch 5G, which will revolutionize how we use the Internet, with the fastest speeds ever. However, there is a problem.

A significant hurdle stands in the way of not only Chinese users but anyone visiting China. A highly advanced and state of the art surveillance/monitoring system known as the Great Firewall of China, analogous to the physically existing great wall of China.

The Great Firewall: Censorship in China

China censors its internet and controls how it’s citizens can access it in a wide variety of ways, popularly known as the great firewall.

History of the Great Firewall:

Historically, initiated as a nationwide project by the Communist Party of China in 1998, the great firewall of China (GFW) is a combination of laws and different technologies introduced by the Chinese government for the purpose of regulating what goes on the internet internally.

In the grand scheme of things, access to foreign information sources, foreign internet tools – Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Wikipedia), mobile apps and streaming services as Netflix, have been limited or outright blocked by the authorities. China has replaced all major apps and websites in the world with localized versions instead; This includes services without which internet users simply can’t manage to do without.

Who is affected by the Firewall?

Chinese obsession with censorship of the internet and forcing its citizens to adhere to the government policy regarding the internet, doesn’t just affect the people living in China. Those traveling to China for various reasons such as traveling and Chinese expats in other countries are also affected.

How does the Great Firewall work?

The autocratic government of China employs a variety of methods to make the great firewall work, including the following:

  • IP Blocking

The Chinese government ensures that requests from server hosts with certain IP addresses are rejected through a configuration of the network services under IP blocking.

  • IP Spoofing

The Chinese government also employs unethical methods such as IP spoofing which involves diverting internet traffic from legitimate servers to fake ones.

  • URL filtering

With this method, the Chinese government compares the web traffic against a database of banned websites and the matching websites are then blocked.

  • Packet Filtering

Packet Filtering is another technique using which network access is controlled through strict monitoring of outgoing and incoming packets of data.

  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Chinese government alters and hinders the ongoing communication between two parties it believes are directly communicating, with the MITM or man in the middle attacks.

  • VPN Blocking

Most importantly, the Chinese government blocks the encrypted protocol tunneling methods used by the Virtual Private Network systems, in a bid to prevent the people from employing such services to access blocked content.

How can someone traveling to China circumvent the Great Firewall?

Here are some of the most reliable and trustworthy methods that can be applied to circumvent the great firewall:

  • Proxies

A proxy can be defined as a substitute which lets you go online with an IP address different than your original one. For this purpose, you don’t need to change your service provider. All you need to do is, simply go online and search for a list of proxies that can perform the service for you.

  • Onion Routing

Onion routing is another technique for anonymizing communication over a computer network, in which messages are fully encrypted with layers, similar to how an onion is.

  • VPNs

VPNs are perhaps the most reliable and commonly used method for circumventing the great firewall of China. They enable users to transmit data across public networks, by extending their private networks across the public ones, which means that the original IP address is masked by another one.

The solution to bypassing the Great Firewall of China

Commonly known as Virtual Private Networks – VPN China services enable users to browse the internet while avoiding government surveillance and allow them to unblock any sites restricted by China since it maintains strict controls over the internet usage of its citizens. A VPN does this by encrypting the data you send and receive over the Internet.

Apart from circumventing restrictions in China, a reliable VPN such as Ivacy offers many other features such as unblocking streaming services, torrenting and kill switch. You can do much more than circumventing restrictions in China with Ivacy VPN.

Visiting China without a good VPN is like riding a bike without a helmet!

Every year, a considerable number of tourists visit China; some for tourism and some for business purposes. But, the internet ban affects them all alike. Therefore, visiting China without having invested in a reliable VPN will only result in discomfort. Only a few reliable VPNs are known to work in China, for instance, Ivacy VPN that has a proven track record of circumventing internet based restrictions around the globe.

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