Fines Handed Out For Using VPNs
In early 2021, there was a report of a resident being handed a fine for using a VPN to connect to the internet and access content that would have otherwise been restricted. However, this is just one instance and millions of people use a VPN.
The government has removed VPN apps from app stores in the country in a bid to stop people from using them. But, there has been no suggestion that connecting to a VPN is actually illegal.
At least no one in the country has said it outright.
It seems that if a citizen in the country can find access to VPN software and sign up with a provider, they are not doing anything illegal. However, this brings about more confusion.
So, are VPNs legal or illegal in the country? The answer is grey.
Is It Legal To Use A VPN In China The Answer May Surprise You
September 1, 2021 By Josh Summers
One of the most common questions I receive about VPNs is this: Is it legal to use a VPN in China in 2021? Since China censors the internet using the Great Firewall of China to keep people inside the country from accessing different websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Gmail, etc., its no wonder the popularity has surged for the best VPN for China.
The question isnt popularity, though, its legality. Is using a VPN legal in China? I have a few interesting anecdotes to share as we figure out what is right and what is wrongbecause its clearly not a black and white issue.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not its legal to use a VPN in China these last few years due to the fact that China has threatened to ban all VPNs and even took the step to remove all VPN apps from Chinas Apple store.
Seems ominous, right?
Why would China try to ban and remove something that was legal?
I propose a different way of looking at this. If VPNs were illegal in China, why wouldnt they just start arresting foreigners who use VPNs instead of making big headlines with a ban?
Yet as of 2021, no foreigner has been punished for using a VPN.
Historically, China tends to talk big on these type of things. As Ill describe below, to question are VPNs legal in China is natural
but for now, I can still consistently connect to my favorite VPN.
Popular Apps Also Restricted
At the same time, popular sites and apps were restricted.
These include , Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Flickr, Google Translate, and Google Maps, among many others.
In short, the Chinese government does not want residents to gain access to anything that might show or contain something they dont want them to see.
To be able to do so, they have to use a Virtual Private Network, but are VPNs legal or illegal in China? After all, they do allow people to access restricted sites.
The country even came up with their own versions of severely limited apps and sites. This included such as Weibo and WeChat, censoring them heavily with posts only viewable by the poster and people given strong warnings about illicit content.
Despite government attempts, millions of residents use tools to gain access to restricted content and apps with VPNs being one such tool.
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When Did It Start
The Great Firewall of China was implemented in the late 1990s when the Communist Party of China wanted to seize control of peoples perception and what they can read, watch, listen to, or research. This is most prominent in their ban on news and media websites, such as Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BBC, Reuters, TIME, Financial Times, CNN, etc.
Interim Regulations Of The Prc On The Management Of International Networking Of Computer Information
In 1996, the Ministry of Commerce created a set of regulations which prohibit connection to “international networks” or use of channels outside of those provided by official government service providers without prior approval or license from authorities. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has since been superseded by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or MIIT. To this date this regulation is still used to prosecute and fine users who connect to international networks or use VPN’s.
Article 6: To carry out international networking of computer information, the output and input channels provided by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in its public telecommunication network shall be used.
No units or individuals shall establish or use other channels for international networking on their own accord.
Article 14: Those that violate stipulations in articles 6, 8 and 10 shall be ordered by public security departments to stop networking, with a warning issued to them. They may also be imposed a fine below 15,000 yuan. If they have earned any illegal incomes, these incomes shall be confiscated.
âInterim Regulations of the PRC on the Management of International Networking of Computer Information
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Do VPNs Work In China And Are They Illegal
Can you get around restrictions and stay secure while in China by using a VPN? Yes, you can…and here’s how
ByLuke EdwardsLast updated 2021-04-13T15:48:15.095Z
China is the wild west of the east when it comes to the best VPN. Confusing intro, right? We did that on purpose because that’s exactly what the situation with VPNs and China is like unclear. Fortunately you’ve come to the right place to have it all cleared up.
China puts a lot of blocks on internet access to capitalist countries. So if you’re travelling there then you may find yourself locked out of some things you take for granted like Google Maps or WhatsApp. So, the easy fix is to use a VPN, right? Not so much, as China has blocked them, too!
But all is not lost. A VPN can still help you stay secure and get access to what you need, even when behind the Great Firewall of China.
- Discover the best China VPN when you travel
- So…how do VPNs actually work?
Specific Examples Of Evasion As Internet Activism
The rapid increase of access to Internet in China has also created new opportunities for Internet activism. For example, in terms of journalism, Marina Svensson’s article on âMedia and Civil Society in China: Community building and networking among investigative journalists and beyondâ illustrates that although Chinese journalists are not able to create their own private companies, they are using informal connections online and offline that allows them to create a community that may allow them to go around state repression. Specifically, with the development of microblogging, an increase in new community that are formed underlines a possibility of “…more open expressions of solidarity and ironic resistanceâ. However, one shortcoming with Internet activism is digital inequality. In 2016, the number of Internet users reached 731 million, which was about a rate of 53% for Internet penetration. According to the Information and Communications Technologies Development Index , China exhibits high inequality in terms of regional and wealth differences.
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What Should We Do When Using A VPN Could Be Illegal In China
I would stay away from free VPN software and apps because it was known that some free VPN software is very bad in privacy and security.
I would also stay away from VPN services based in China, because I dont want my online activities and personal data to be handed over to the Chinese police. On the other hand, using a VPN service based outside of China has a lower risk of losing personal data to the Chinese government.
I would stick with overseas VPN services with a good reputation and good technology for dealing with Chinas VPN blocking, such as ExpessVPN. Based on VPN testings done in China, below are some VPN services that currently work well in China:
How Come Chinas Firewall Is The Worlds Most Sophisticated Censorship System
In China, you dont have the freedom to do what you can do best on the internet as everything is seen, tracked, or recorded, and what you access is highly restricted.
Basically, the Great Firewall of the country blocks you from accessing virtually anything online, and thats where VPN comes in handy.
But why is Chinas Firewall so great? Because of the implementation of other restrictions, such as regulating the use of VPNs.
In China getting onto a VPN website is almost impossible, let alone downloading the app into your device.
Therefore, a China VPN will help you bypass the blocks without getting detected, ensuring that you regain your internet freedom and shield your anonymity.
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Is Streaming With A VPN Illegal
No. One of the most common uses for virtual private networks is accessing region-locked content from other countries. Some movies and TV shows are locked to particular countries. A VPN can bypass these restrictions, so you can watch Formula 1, the Tokyo 2021 Olympics or favorite series from anywhere in the world.
While using a VPN in this manner is generally legal, it might violate the terms of service of the streaming provider. In this case, you can expect that your account might be restricted or closed.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US created a legal framework for punishing people who get around digital rights management software. This law could theoretically be used against people avoiding region locks with VPNs, although it hasnt been tested.
Its perfectly legal to use a VPN for Netflix, so you shouldnt worry too much about this use case.
How To Use A VPN While Staying In China
Not all VPNs can get through the Great Firewall of China. However, NordVPN works in China.
If youre not familiar with NordVPN yet, no worries our VPN service is extremely easy to use. To browse the internet securely in China, follow these steps:
NordVPN has more than 5200 servers in 60 countries, so you can choose a server closest to your actual location to get the best speed. It provides users with top-notch encryption to protect them from online dangers and privacy issues. NordVPN is the recommended VPN of major tech experts across the globe and is a top pick for millions of people.
Its possible to just run the app and connect to a VPN server. However, the strength of Chinas internet restrictions may vary regionally and from year to year, so you may want to use one of our advanced security features. The Obfuscated Servers feature will drastically improve your chance of connecting to a VPN server in Hong Kong.
This tutorial will let you select the best VPN servers created specifically for heavily restricted countries. If you ever have issues when trying to connect to a VPN in China, contact our support team so they can help you access the free internet.
When using the app, you can also enable the CyberSec feature, which blocks websites known for hosting malware and annoying ads.
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Can You Use VPN In China: Best VPNs That Still Work In 2021
If youre planning a trip to China, youre surely aware that many popular websites and programmes, such as Google Search, Gmail, Youtube, Facebook, and WhatsApp, are restricted. You will need a VPN to enjoy unlimited access to the internet. However, a VPN can be used in China. What VPN is still available in China in 2021?
These VPNs are the best for China.
- NordVPN the best china VPN choice
- PrivateVPN robust and easy-to-use
- ExpressVPN VPN that works in China
- VyprVPN simple but powerful VPN for China
- PureVPN great alternative choice
Can you use VPNs in China
You can use a VPN to access China. However, there could be legal issues. The Chinese government blocks many services in order to censor the internet. Therefore, VPNs are not allowed in China. Only a handful of VPNs work correctly. The technology can be used, however. Not the way you think.
Selling VPN Services Is Indeed Illegal In China
But not everybody in China is in the VPN selling business, right? I just use VPNs. I dont sell them. I should be fine, right?
But you might want to think about it again when it came to 2019.
In January 2019, a man from Guangdong was ordered by the local police to pay a fine of 1,000 Yuan for using a VPN to connect to overseas websites. This news was even confirmed by Global Times, a state-run newspaper that is well known for reflecting the views of the Chinese government, which might suggest that this kind of punishment is known by the higher authority and might become more common.
This made us wonder:
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Individual VPNs Vs Corporate VPNs In China
As an individual though, theres a lot of gray area as to whether the government has made VPNs legal in China.
In places like Tibet and Xinjiang, which are politically sensitive areas in China, there have been reports that locals have been put in prison for using a VPN.
Read that carefully: local Chinese, not travelers and expats.
There was a news report published in early 2017 that talked about the government really clamping down and making it illegal to use a VPN. A lot of fuss was made about this news report.
What people didnt read was the fact that China was being very directive towards businesses that use VPNs illegally.
You see, when businesses use a VPN they have to get clearance from the government to do so. They cant just use a VPN because its necessary for business. They have to get approvals from the authorities in China in order to create and use a VPN.
As for individuals, this rule doesnt **technically** apply to us.
We still have the ability to log onto a VPN. Now, I say we have the abilityits not a right.
At any point in time, China can change their minds, and they have done so in the past, making trouble for foreigners who use a Virtual Private Network.
Can You Get In Trouble For Using A VPN In China
Of course the country isn’t happy about the use of VPN software getting around access restrictions to websites and services it has deliberately sought to block.
Although China has enacted a ban against VPNs however, it remains unclear how users will be punished for using theunauthorized software. And many VPN providers are continuing to sell to people within China regardless.
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The Best VPNs For China
After researching and testing for weeks, our team finalized ten exceptional VPN service providers that will let you access your favorite websites in China safely and anonymously.
Please remember to have your VPN downloaded before you arrive in mainland China. Thats because the local networks there will have VPN services blocked. Hence, you may not get onto their sites to install the VPN.
That being said, here are the ten best China VPNs you can use.
Can Foreigners Use VPNs In China
Lets say that you plan on traveling to China and that you want to use your own VPN. In theory, any VPN should work since the Great Firewall of China isnt that difficult to go through after all. So, what would happen if youre caught using a foreign VPN?
To give you an answer, well take a look at what happened to Josh Summers, who spent plenty of time living in China.
Back in 2015, his smartphone stopped working while he was in Xinjiang. He wasnt able to make phone calls or send messages, and his Web connection dropped as well. Josh pointed out that his cell service provider told him to go to the police.
There, his phone was taken away from him, and all but legal apps were deleted, including Skype and his VPN application. Then, he received his phone back and thats about it. It means that he wasnt forced to pay a fine, nor did he go to jail.
The truth is that Joshs story happened in 2015, and China has decided to become more aggressive since then. So, our advice would be not to try your luck with just about any VPN and its always best to use a VPN with a proven track record of working in China.
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The Internet Was Meant To Be Free
We at NordVPN believe that private internet access, free of any surveillance or censorship, is important. If youre traveling to China or know someone who lives there or is visiting, spread the news about NordVPN. Everyone deserves to have unrestricted and secure access to the internet, and this can only be achieved through a reliable VPN.
Access the sites you love while traveling in China
Stay safe with the worlds leading VPN
Why Does Netflix Ban VPNs
Netflix doesnt have the right to stream certain content in countries where the copyright holder doesnt allow it. The deals for that region are sometimes made per-continent rather than specifying specific countries, so smaller markets often get overlooked. This means that foreign content libraries could have more titles.
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Why Are Restrictions So Heavy In China
The Central Propaganda Department in the country employs millions of people to monitor and censor what residents of the country can see and do online. This led to thousands of sites and apps being blocked in the country.
The country does have the most sophisticated internet technology. This has earned it the title of the Great Firewall of China. So, in regards to using them, are VPNs legal or illegal in China when behind the Great Firewall?
There is no clear answer as to whether it is illegal to use a VPN. The government restricts people from selling VPNs if not government-approved, but they have not actually said that using a VPN is illegal.
This is despite the fact that they have banned VPN software and apps.