The Great Firewall of China: Keeping Shit out of (and in) the Country

The Great Firewall of China isn’t an ordinary firewall. Instead, it represents the will of the most highly populated country in the world. That is, the mind-blowing will to keep its poplace under control.

Access to the Internet can bring many things, some good, some bad, and some so fucked up you won’t believe it. For a country steeped in communist socialist ideology, it takes away something unimaginable – the ability to dictate what people think.

Free Access Online is a Problem in China


China has an estimated 854 million Internet users as of mid-2019. If you think that is a mind boggling number, it only represents around 61% of the population in the country. Under normal circumstances, the challenge would be to get the remaining 49% of the population connected.

However, China has long had a history where the reality is what the Party (i.e. China Communist Party, or CCP) tells the People. Of course, the Party represents the People anyway, so that’s an ideal situation right?

Problems arise when people start to gain additional points of view. When they do, they start to ask questions? Like – “Daddy, why is there a man in a greatcoat and dark glasses following you around?”

What the Fuck is a Firewall?

Imagine a regular wall built around your housing compound. Most of us would normally think that it’s there to keep the riff-raff out. In most cases, yes, and that would have been the intention all along.

Change the context now and imagine a prison wall. It’s there to keep most of us out and the inmates in. See what a difference a change in context can make? That brings us to the real purpose of a wall – control.

Just like a real wall, a firewall works with a set of rules. The administrator of the firewall is the one who sets the rules. Rules are how the firewall works to decide what type of information is allowed in or out.

So the Great Firewall is There – Boo Hoo

For you, sitting on your fat ass in the comfort of your home and enjoying all the porn available on the Internet, it might not be a big deal. For millions of China residents, the firewall prevents them from accessing alternate thoughts and opinions.

The key to a firewall is understanding who’s in control. In this case, it’s the CCP via one of their state organs. By now you’re getting to understand a familiar theme. Everything in the country is run by the CCP.

You don’t eat, shit, or both, without their benevolent approval.

Originally started as The Golden Shield Project, the firewall has today been dubbed the Great Firewall of China (in reference to the famous Great Wall of China, what a shock). Just as the Great Wall was built to keep barbarians out, the Great Firewall keeps alternate opinions out.

In general, the Great Firewall blocks access to online sites where Chinese residents might pick up on strange foreign thoughts. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Google – anywhere that might have a huge amount of people discussing different points of view.

While you debate what emoticon to use, people in China can’t even Like that shit. If you’re heading to China for any reason and can’t live without certain sites or services, best use our tool here to see if it works in the country.

Tip: Check out SurfShark – Currently the best VPN that can climb the Great Wall of China (see connectivity test results here).

How the Great Firewall Works

If you’re an eager beaver who likes to probe the nuts and bolts of things then carry on. If not then you can skip this shit.

The Great Firewall works on three main concepts – active filtering, active probing, and proxy redistribution. Combined, they have so far formed a fucking effective barrier to free Internet access in China.

The first filters out all the shit that it doesn’t want people to access. The second catches anything trying to escape the firewall (e.g. a VPN tunnel). Finally, the last collects all known IPs of anonymity providers like Tor clients and VPN servers.

Although active filtering is what makes up the bulk of the defence mechanism of the Great Firewall, it is the latter two elements which makes it so effective. In technical terms, this is what is called an adaptive strategy, meaning it sort of makes the Great Firewall smarter each day.

Climbing the Great Firewall of China

This is perhaps the most important part of why you might be here. It sure isn’t to sob about the miseries of residents in China. Normally, the Great Firewall isn’t a problem for most of us. Until we find out we have to stay in China for any period of time.

Is there a way over the Great Firewall of China? 

Yes and no.

Yes – Because it being based on technology, there’s always some loophole which could be exploited somehow. For example, using some specific proxies (be warned, most will not work), some good VPN services, and hoping the Tor network will work on any given day.

No – Because almost all of these methods are unreliable in China. If you skipped the earlier segment, the Great Firewall of China is adaptive, so what it can or cannot do changes day by day.

To save you some grief, we know for certain that some elements of networking are completely blocked, tighter than a virgin nymph’s you-know-what. For example, the OpenVPN and PPTP protocols and any connections with non-symmetric identifiably keys.

Some other well known protocols aren’t completely blocked but slowed to a crawl, including IPSec and associated protocols such as L2TP. 

Final Thoughts – But I’m (Insert Nationality Here)!

For foreigners heading to China, there is a lot to look forward to. The country has awesome food, lots of really pretty chicks, and some of the most stunning scenic views you’ll ever come across.

Also on a more positive note, no foreigners have yet been thrown in the slammer for using a VPN service in the country. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the one you are using is reliable as hell to reduce the chances of ending up as the first.

While ChinaVPN may seem crude, rude, and horribly irrelevant, we’ve also dedicated much of our time to helping find the ideal VPN for use in China. 

Our tests are on an ongoing basis, so if you’re planning a trip, make sure to check back here for the most updated performance charts possible. We really don’t want to see you get your ass thrown in jail either. It spoils our track record.

TT Shane

TT Shane

TT builds the stuff that Jasonicus sells. You might call them the shit and the shovel, so to speak. Never happier than when he’s tinkering with some tech, TT has this strange talent where he makes a f*ckload of text appear on documents somewhat magically. He calls it writing.
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