How to Access Twitter in China (Updated June 2021)
For a whole generation of Chinese citizens, Twitter is just a myth, a figment of their imaginations like an imaginary best friend. Maybe they’ve heard about it from a friend traveling abroad, maybe even seen in it a movie that sneaks past China’s rigorous censorship standards.
With smart use of the Internet and by employing a specific type of application known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can safely access your Twitter account in China.
Twitter’s Censorship History
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.
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
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.
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.
If you are visiting China for any reason make sure to download a VPN before entering the country. If you have the VPN app already on your phone or computer, you can open it and find a server located outside China’s jurisdiction to connect to.
Most VPN websites are blocked in China, although some newer ones slip through the cracks based on how they are named. Thus, your best option is to download a reliable VPN app while you’re outside of China’s borders.
While you should exercise caution if you decide to use a VPN within China’s borders, you likely won’t be prosecuted for doing so. The common practice is that China fights VPNs by technologically blocking the services, and not by chasing after the people who use them.
Top VPN services for use in China
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 Double VPN tunneling and AES 256-bit encryptions.
IPVanish also has a huge range of servers, more than 1,000, and boasts unlimited bandwidth.
AstrillVPN is a great starter VPN that has low prices for beginners as well as a kill switch that will sever your Internet connection instantly if the VPN drops, keeping you safe from a punitive-minded Chinese government.