How to Access Twitter in China (Updated July 2022)
Twitter is blocked in China, but a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can provide access if you’re visiting the country for tourism or work.
Unfortunately, the majority of VPN websites are also blocked in China. To ensure continued access to your Twitter account, your best option is to download a reliable VPN while you’re outside of China’s borders.
While you should exercise caution if you decide to use a VPN with Twitter within China’s borders, you likely won’t be prosecuted for doing so. The common practice is that China fights VPNs and Twitter by technologically blocking the services, and not by chasing after foreigners who use them.
Twitter’s Censorship History
Created in 2006, Twitter allows its users to communicate with messages called tweets. Originally these were restricted to 140 characters, although that figure was doubled in 2017. By 2016, the social media network had 319 million active users. Since 2009, Twitter has been used to stage protests, movements, and entire revolutions and conflicts around the world, including places like Austria, the US, Israel, Greece, Brazil, and Egypt.
Iran was the first country to ban Twitter outright, doing so for fear of organized protests following the results of hat country’s presidential election. Other than for a brief period in 2013, Iran has banned Twitter continuously.
China became the second country to block Twitter usage inside its borders in 2010. A similar platform, Sina Weibo, is available, but of course, all messages posted on it are subject to Chinese censorship rules, and no one outside of China can post there, giving a very limited view of world happenings.
In 2016, North Korea became the the third country to block use of Twitter outright,citing is concern about the spread of online information and declaring anyone trying to access it would be subject to punishment.
China’s Internet Censorship
Twitter is one of hundreds of websites blocked by the Chinese government. Some of this is done to give Chinese businesses an economic advantage over foreign competition. Most of it however is due the country’s censorship protocol to determine how its residents view both local and international events and affairs.
The government has total control over Internet access in mainland China as well as Hong Kong. This means it can sever any connection or block any website as well. The Chinese government has also been suspected of using this power to attack other websites and temporarily close them. In addition to Twitter, such popular Western websites as Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia are all blocked in China.
How a VPN Works in China
A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and reroutes it through its own global server network. This also keeps your personal data safe at all times from any spying third parties. However, remember that the protection of a VPN doesn’t give you license to commit illegal acts (like downloading copyrighted content).
Ideally, look for a server located close to China to reduce the latency time – the physical distance a signal has to travel from your computer to the server you’re using to access the Internet. Once you’ve picked a server, you can connect and begin keying in websites you want to visit.
The Best VPNs for Twitter in China in 2022
One of the top VPN services for use in China is ExpressVPN, which has an enormous number of servers to choose from as well as AES 256-bit encryptions.
PrivateVPN also has a huge range of servers and boasts unlimited bandwidth.
3. Astrill VPN
AstrillVPN is a great VPN that has a kill switch that will sever your Internet connection instantly if the VPN drops, keeping you safe.