China is Continuing to Double Down on Blocking VPNs
The Great Firewall of China is tougher than ever to bypass with a VPN, but some still work. Here are our updated picks for March 2021.
China has long restricted Internet use in the country using their Great Firewall – and people, both citizens and foreigners, have long used VPNs to bypass those restrictions. It’s known as “climbing over the wall” among the Chinese.
But the authorities are eager to stop this practice.
Below, is a timeline of their VPN crackdown over the past two years. You can also jump right down to our updated list of VPN services that still work in China.
Timeline of China's VPN Blocking Efforts
- January 2017: Chinese government rules the use of non-authorized VPNs illegal
- March 2017: Man from southern China, Deng Jiewei, sentence to 9 months in prison for selling VPN software
- July 2017: Apple removes VPN apps from the Apple Store in China at government’s request
- December 2017: Man from southern China, Wu Xiangyang, sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison and a $72,000 fine for selling VPN software
- March 2018: China begins ban on non-authorized VPN services
- July 2018: VyprVPN reports a 300% increase in VPN blocking by Chinese authorities
- October 2018: Man from Shanghai, identified by his surname Dai, is given a 3-year suspended sentence and fined $1,400 for selling VPN software
China VPN Blocking Only Getting Worse
In short, it’s been a rough time for VPN providers and users. And now, it’s getting even worse, with VyprVPN reporting that the Chinese government effort is continuing to double down on its VPN blocking efforts.
A press statement from Golden Frog shared details on the change in tactics: “The Great Firewall has been increasing blocks since late June, but this recent attack was more serious due to how the Chinese appeared to combat our efforts in real time.”
Fortunately, VyprVPN (and a few other providers) have been able to withstand the block attempts and continue to serve their users.
VPN Services that Still Work in China
If you live or travel in China and are in need of a VPN, here are our top picks that still work as of March 2021:
VyprVPN offers stealth technology called Chameleon, which helps it bypass China’s VPN blocking. They also 100% own their networks and servers, allowing them to react more quickly to attempts by the government.
They’re our top pick for a VPN to use in China. Plus, you can try-before-you-buy for a full 7 days.
Comes with a 7-day free trial.
ExpressVPN has “stealth servers” in Hong Kong that are specifically designed to bypass the Great Firewall. And they’re also an all-around great VPN, with a 30-day money back guarantee to boot.
Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Based in Hong Kong and boasting a 31-day money back guarantee, PureVPN is another top pick for a China VPN. PureVPN has been busting through the Great Firewall of China for years. With the industry's best money-back guarantee period of 31 days, what you have got lose?
Comes with a 31-day money-back guarantee.
The game of cat and mouse between the Chinese authorities and VPN services continues with no end in sight. While most VPN services don't have a chance against the Great Firewall, our picks above still work.
Read more details about using a VPN in China.