Wondering which apps are common with China with the rest of the world? Or what are the reasons behind the country blocking such popular apps? Maybe you need guidance for which apps and online services work if you go there as a tourist. The Great Firewall of China unfortunately has a censorship system; and the government states several reasons to restrict access. Some of them are political, sometimes commercial but the atmosphere of the country is quite different from the rest of the world. So let’s go into the details considering the apps and websites operational.
Why are those websites and apps blocked?
Some sites are restricted because they have content such as democratic movements, ethnic minorities, religious freedom, and other topics. And these usually criticize the Chinese government or its policies, or they let users exchange such content.
Certain websites are prohibited due to their rivalry or potential danger to the supremacy of Chinese local platforms, which adhere more closely to government restrictions and monitoring.
Due to their violations of Chinese laws and regulations including pornography, gambling, violence, terrorism, etc., some of them are restricted.
To get past China’s Great Firewall and access prohibited websites and applications, you’ll need to utilize a VPN service; for example, ExpressVPN is good to use in China. Because using a VPN with a server located in a different nation, your internet data is encrypted and routed over this private network. Hence, China’s censorship and limitations and use the internet as if you were in that nation. But not all VPNs function in China, since the government also makes an effort to thwart or monitor VPN use. As a result, you must pick a trustworthy VPN provider that can provide lag-free, fast connections within China.
What Are the Websites and Apps Blocked in China 2023
China does not have access to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn terminated its local Chinese counterpart at the end of 2021 because it was having trouble complying with local data protection laws. However, a local program named InCareer has taken the role of the platform. Except the social feed, this app is a condensed version of LinkedIn that nevertheless permits connections between businesses and job searchers.
Popular messaging applications like WhatsApp are inoperable in China.
China has blocked WhatsApp since September 2017. The limitations can occasionally be circumvented using text messaging, although it may take hours or days.
Several other well-known messaging applications are also restricted, including Line, Telegram, Snapchat, and Messenger.
Skype and Zoom
The Skype app vanished from the Chinese App Store and other app stores in December 2017. Nevertheless, Skype continues to function in China. Zoom made available a Chinese local version in August 2020. The foreign version can’t be accessed. While they cannot start meetings, individual users can attend them. But even you become a premium member, you will need a local partner for the software.
VPN apps are not officially available in App Store in China.
The App Store prohibits users from China from installing VPN apps officially. So, you cannot use or download them unless you already have a VPN installed on your phone. But the bad news for already existing users, they would not update the existing apps.
Does China have local Facebook and Twitter, or other social sites?
Yes, they created different sites for the same purposes. For instance, Weibo is as “China’s Twitter,” while WeChat serves as both Facebook and WhatsApp.
YouKu has taken over as the new YouTube.
Like other well-known social media sites, TikTok is restricted in China even though it is owned by a Chinese corporation. Douyin is the local name for TikTok in China.
Other social sites include:
The Great Firewall of China prevents users from accessing an increasing number of social networking websites. Some of the prohibited websites, such as LinkedIn, may occasionally reappear and also below:
- Facebook as well as Messenger
- Blogger, Tumblr
It is illegal to access several Western news sources in China. The only convenient way to obtain news from overseas is through state-owned or -approved news sites. The following news websites are likely restricted in China:
- New York Times
File Sharing Apps:
Dropbox, Google Apps including Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Slack are also restricted.
It is hardly surprising that many search engines are restricted given China’s strict control over information sources. While in China, you can still use some of these search engines, but the answers to your query can be completely different. Others have been completely prohibited, such as Google. Google is making efforts to reenter China, but doing so would mean changing the results they provide.
China’s list of prohibited websites and applications is dynamic and subject to change at any time based on the country’s political and social climate. For instance, on important occasions like national holidays or anniversaries of historical events, some websites and applications could be momentarily prohibited. To discourage citizens from using, some websites and apps can be slowed down or partially disabled. Certain websites and applications could be unblocked or available subject to restrictions or requirements.
How Can I Use a VPN in China?
You need to prepare yourself beforehand, it is best to download and set up your VPN before you travel. To have the most updated version of the desired VPN software is also essential if you want it to function properly despite of internet restrictions.
There are a few guidelines you may go by to have the greatest possible experience. Initially, make an effort to select a server location that is near China, such as Japan or Hong Kong. This may facilitate a faster connection for you. Additionally, some VPNs provide obfuscation or stealth modes that assist prevent the detection of your VPN activity. If these features are available, it’s a good idea to activate them.
Don’t worry if you experience any difficulties connecting when utilizing your VPN. To test if it helps, you might try moving to a different server or protocol. It’s worthwhile to explore a little bit because some servers or protocols may function better than others at times.
The majority of international VPNs function in a gray area. But you should be safe as long as you utilize a trustworthy VPN service and refrain from doing any sensitive or unlawful internet activity.
In conclusion, the use of a VPN in China should be done with caution since it is not authorized and has some dangers. China has one of the most advanced and stringent internet censorship systems.