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XiaoXi

VPNs being banned in China?

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XiaoXi

Strange I did a search for 'vpn' and it turned up 0 results? No one has ever mentioned vpn on this forum ever or there's something wrong with the search?

 

I thought I would check if anyone had been talking about it since the news that China was going to ban vpns in China early next year. I can't find much confirmation as to whether its true or not. My vpn service assures me its just talking about the vpn companies actually based in China and that they won't be affected....but just recently they've been having loads of trouble in China and now all vpn locations with them are blocked save for two or three...and even those are not that reliable. I've never had this kind of problem with vpns in all the years I've been in China so it does seem a concern.

 

Does anyone have anything more concrete about this? I noticed also recently that conversely, whilst connected to a vpn I'm unable to connect to any Chinese websites. Its like China is trying block everything both ways.

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Lu
47 minutes ago, XiaoXi said:

No one has ever mentioned vpn on this forum ever or there's something wrong with the search?

There's something wrong with the search. Try googling 'site:chinese-forums.com vpn'.

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roddy

By default the site search doesn't index three-letter words, so you're better off with Google for that. 

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大块头

You can't really "ban" VPN technology. It's just a way to encrypt data that's moving from one computer to another.

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889

There are rumours of legal bans, with fines for those using or running VPNs.

 

As well, there are various high-end techniques for identifying and blocking traffic using a VPN. These aren't perfect, but they're good enough to make using a VPN in China difficult for many.

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萨米

Since coming to China I've had serious problems with VPNs. Some worked right after coming here and the speeds were OK, but now the only one that works for me is ExpressVPN.

 

I read that the Great Firewall is now more intelligent than ever before; it has some new machine learning techniques which allows it to identify whether a user is using a VPN, and block that connection, just like 889 said above. ExpressVPN uses stealth techniques which hides the traffic so well that at least for now GFW hasn't managed to figure it out.

 

And when a VPN is on, Taobao, Wechat, Meituan etc. slow down or become unresponsive because they see that the connection is not coming from a Chinese IP address, thus being an unimportant visitor. This information was from my teacher.

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Xiao Kui
Quote

but now the only one that works for me is ExpressVPN.

 

I have both Express and Astrill. Right now Astrill is working and for the last 2 weeks-ish Express (ios) has been very spotty with the American locations not connecting at all, and their support was super unhelpful. This was the same result for another American colleague here in central China. Astrill (ios and pc) is singing for me rt now though I have had to toggle locations.

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ChTTay

Aren’t VPNs technically already illegal? It’s just not enforced against individual users. The biggest Chinese VPN provider (GreenVPN) worked very well for me but was shut down not long ago. They had an App Store app etc. 

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Maria Wolters

ExpressVPN works very hard to keep up with the censors. I'm not sure, personally, whether China can keep up their current practices for much longer, if they are interested in science and innovation, because the resources being cut off are often used for international collaboration. 

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ChTTay

They should just give in and make a state endorsed software/VeePeeEn that  foreigners can use and anyone with official permission. 

 

Theres always someone monitoring anyway. 

 

At at least it would stop this cat and mouse game

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XiaoXi
On 2017/10/28 at 2:06 AM, roddy said:

By default the site search doesn't index three-letter words, so you're better off with Google for that. 

 

Oh right. I found it annoying enough on other sites that I couldn't search two letter words - even 'UK' was not possible. Three seems a bit extreme. Ok thanks for the info.

On 2017/10/28 at 8:50 AM, 大块头 said:

You can't really "ban" VPN technology. It's just a way to encrypt data that's moving from one computer to another.

That doesn't really make sense, you could say that about anything. 'You can't ban a movie because its just a series of moving pictures'. Anyway many things are banned from China, ie they can't be used or accessed within that country.

On 2017/10/28 at 3:21 PM, 萨米 said:

Since coming to China I've had serious problems with VPNs. Some worked right after coming here and the speeds were OK, but now the only one that works for me is ExpressVPN.

 

I read that the Great Firewall is now more intelligent than ever before; it has some new machine learning techniques which allows it to identify whether a user is using a VPN, and block that connection, just like 889 said above. ExpressVPN uses stealth techniques which hides the traffic so well that at least for now GFW hasn't managed to figure it out.

I am also using expressvpn and while its still pretty usable its not as good as before. They even advise only certain locations are effective in China recently. I always thought the Great Firewall was just there to block websites but it seems even those using vpns to surpass the firewall are being affected.

 

On 2017/10/29 at 4:39 PM, ChTTay said:

Aren’t VPNs technically already illegal? It’s just not enforced against individual users. The biggest Chinese VPN provider (GreenVPN) worked very well for me but was shut down not long ago. They had an App Store app etc. 

The vpn companies that are actually based in China have apparently been shut down, or at least will be early next year. But it remains to be seen whether all vpns will be shut down or not. But this recent blockage makes me thing that maybe they will be.

 

On 2017/10/28 at 3:21 PM, 萨米 said:

And when a VPN is on, Taobao, Wechat, Meituan etc. slow down or become unresponsive because they see that the connection is not coming from a Chinese IP address, thus being an unimportant visitor. This information was from my teacher.

Yes that's only recently right? Right now if I open my vpn I can't even log into qq or access any Chinese websites. If I close the vpn then all that is Chinese is fully accessible, fast and responsive. Does that mean Chinese websites are unaccessible from outside of China or is specifically VPN usage they are detecting?

 

On 2017/10/29 at 9:13 PM, Maria Wolters said:

ExpressVPN works very hard to keep up with the censors. I'm not sure, personally, whether China can keep up their current practices for much longer, if they are interested in science and innovation, because the resources being cut off are often used for international collaboration. 

Well they do, but I'm wondering if next year its gonna be simply impossible. China seems to not only want to cut off its population from accessing the west, but also the west from accessing China. Soon China will have to be recognised as a separate planet I think...

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BoyVam
On 10/28/2017 at 10:21 AM, 萨米 said:

the only one that works for me is ExpressVPN.

 

NordVPN also works quite well, even unblocks US Netflix.

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ChTTay

Well, the VPN companies based in China and those based outside are completely different. 

 

Whether all VPN’s with be “shut down” or not isn’t so simple really. Where as companies in run by Chinese in China are 100% vulnerable to the Chinese govt, foreign VPN companies definitely aren’t. It’s one thing shutting down a company and another blocking tech. 

 

The cat cat and mouse game will continue with outside providers and the domestic GFW.

 

For all the warnings about services being shut down over the October holiday ... we didn’t see any interruptions. All was well. 

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wenhill

I visited in November to Guangzhou city of China. I was also wondering VPN which is working in China. Someone recommend me ExpressVPN which is still working in China.

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HuayangAcademy

If you are coming to China and want OFO etc on your iPhone it might cause issues for your VPN when you change to the Chinese APP store

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WilaDK

VPN's have been banned in China for a long time - in the beginning I spent a lot of money on VPN's like Astril, Golden Frog or Express VPN, but I have come to the conclusion that it is sometime better (and way cheaper) to just download the free VPN's instead - some gives you 2 hours, and when it's over, you jsut disconnect and log on agian, then you get another two hours, others you get a limited MB or GB per month, but you can upgrade by paying for it.

My suggestion, go on a free VPN hunt on the Apple or Google store, and try them out, keep the 2-3-4 best ones you find, so you always have others to choose from, if one is down.

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DavyJonesLocker

I tried a whole pile of VPNs and expressVPN was by far the best. It can be erratic at times but 95% of the time it runs smoothly.

VPN won't be banned completely in my view. State and  private companies with international departments or business still use them. They need to access Google advertising, advertise on Facebook etc and use Google emails at times.

 

They (government) get a little paranoid around CPC meetings, conferences etc so step up security but it relaxes after that. 

 

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vellocet

Xi's third term is a game-changer.  I think it's no coincidence that VPNs are finally being banned for good just after his announcement.  So foreign businesses will be affected?  Oh, that's terrible.  You mean they'll have to sell at a loss to Chinese companies and then leave their assets behind?  What a tragedy.  

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大块头
2 hours ago, WilaDK said:

I have come to the conclusion that it is sometime better (and way cheaper) to just download the free VPN's instead

 

This is a good strategy for circumventing the GFW, but I would advise against it if you afford a subscription to a reputable VPN service. These free VPN providers have to make money somehow, and they do that by scrutinizing every byte of data coming in and out of their customers' computers. Many of the free VPN companies may only sell this data to advertisers, but the unscrupulous ones may try to get whatever personal information (credit cards, passwords, etc.) they can get out of you.

 

If you must use a free VPN service, only use it to browse websites that have a "https" in the url, not websites with only a "http". This ensures that all traffic between you and the website is encrypted and not accessible to the VPN service.

 

I had some success buying a virtual server on Amazon Web Services and configuring it as my personal VPN. The Chinese government can target commercial VPN providers specifically, but it can't stop all encrypted traffic leaving the country.

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ChTTay

Echoing what Davy says, there might be a “ban” in place but it doesn’t mean they’re banned. 

 

There’s been talk of blocking/banning them since as long as I’ve lived here. It’s not like they have the technology to do so and will just flick a switch. It’s been a game of cat and mouse between the two sides. 

 

One thing that that does worry me, the word on the street here is they’ve told various embassies they’re gonna make them unusable. And that they’d need to use a sanctioned government one if they want to use one which, of course, no embassy would ever go for. This could all just be clickbait and rumour though! 

 

Crackdowns on teachers and VPNs. It comes to a point where you just need to give up reading about these things. I’m not there yet I guess as I’m writing here.

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