How to Unblock Twitter in China
Updated: February 25, 2016
- First step is to setup a VPN account
- Then install the VPN software to the device(s) you want to unblock twitter in China on
- Open the software and connect to any non-China based server location, e.g. a US or UK server
- Go to Twitter on your device(s) and you will have full access
- If on your mobile, go to you app setting then clear the Twitter app cache, force stop the app, then open the app again and you will have access to Twitter in China
How to unblock Twitter in China in more detail:
If you have never left the comfort of the Western world, the one place I would recommend you to visit is China. The culture, the food, and the people are so far removed from what we are used to in the USA that it will completely change the way you look at things.
I was sent to work in Shanghai on a project for my company and having never visited the Far East at all, I was completely blown away. At first everything seemed so alien to me, but the longer I was there, the more accustomed I became to things, and as my language skills developed, so I began to fall in love with the complex and beautiful Chinese culture.
I was keen to share my experiences in China with friends and colleagues back in the States, and with a good Twitter following already back home, it seemed like the obvious way to let them know what things were like here. The fact that the Chinese Communist Party has chosen to block Twitter in China (along with a great many other of the sites I used most) was therefore a significant annoyance.
However, a colleague who had lived there for many years told me fairly early on that getting round the Communists ‘Great Firewall’, as it is known, is not as difficult as you might think. All I needed was a VPN.
Why is Twitter not available in China?
While a free and open internet is almost a given in the USA, there are a number of regimes that believe they have to control what their populations can access online in order to sure up their own powerbase. The most extreme of these is China which is governed by an authoritarian Communist government.
They operate strict controls over what sites the Chinese population can use and closely monitor their online activity. It is not unknown for people for be arrested and wind up with long sentences in jails or work camps as a result of what they post online. They also closely control what information people can access.
They also block any sites which refuse to bow to their demands to censor their content in a similar way. Twitter is one of the big western social media sites that is not currently available in China for this reason. It is not alone, with Facebook, Google, and Wikipedia also blocked. Indeed, LinkedIn is the only such site to have agreed to censor its content.
How is Twitter being Blocked in China
The Chinese Government operates the ‘Great Firewall’, a multi-billion-dollar scheme which oversees the blocking of internet content and the monitoring of online activity.
This ‘Great Firewall’ ensures that all ISPs and servers located in China refuse access to the sites deemed to contain inappropriate content by the Communist Party. So when a user try to log on in China, all they get is an error message.
The only way to get around this block, is by making it seem that you are logging on somewhere other than China. And this is precisely what a VPN can do.
When you connect to a VPN, you are visiting sites via an external server which can be located anywhere in the world. The connection between your machine and the server is encrypted which means it is totally secure and you are in effect using the internet anonymously. The server then lets you browse the internet and visit Twitter and other sites as normal.
The Chinese Communist Government are not fans of VPNs for obviously reasons, but at it is very difficult to stop people using them because of the encryption involved. It is therefore still pretty easy to hook up to a VPN in and unblock Twitter in China.
Read on and I will explain exactly how to do it.
How to Use a VPN to Unblock Twitter in China
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
I am going to use ExpressVPN to illustrate how to use a VPN to unblock Twitter because as well as being the market leader in my mind, it also offers servers located in Hong Kong and Los Angeles which are dedicated to users within China.
So first you will need to visit the ExpressVPN website which you can do by clicking on one of the links on this page.
Once there, you will have the choice between a variety of subscription packages. Make your pick and click on it, and you will then be forwarded to their payment processing page where you can make your payment using a wide variety of internationally recognized payment options.
Once your payment is complete, ExpressVPN will email you a link. Click on this link to activate your account.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
Next you will need to download the ExpressVPN software. You can do this by clicking on the correct operating system for your device from the menu below.
Then follow the simple onscreen instructions to download, and then install, the software onto your machine.
Step 3: Connect to a Server on VPN
Once the software has installed, open it up and all you will have left to do is choose your server. Any server should serve the purpose for users within China, but I would recommend using the ones located in Hong Kong or Los Angeles to maximize the speed on your connection.
Click on the server, and then you will just have to wait a few moments for your connection to be established.
So there you have it. Once connected you can log into Twitter, or set up a free Twitter account, as normal. A simple process with a straightforward bit of software that helps you evade a Firewall the Chinese Communist authorities spend literally billions of dollars a year maintaining.
Of all the educated young people I have met in Shanghai, every single one of them uses a firewall to unblock Twitter, and other sites, as well as source as much international information as they need. They still use Weibo and the other Chinese equivalents, but they are aware of the limitations it has.
So if you were unsure how to get round the Great Firewall and how to unblock twitter in China, hopefully this guide has put you straight! Do feel free to leave me any comments or questions you may have in the comments box below.
Although I have used ExpressVPN in this article, there are of course other VPNs out there. Above you will see my pick of the Top 5 VPNs to Unblock Twitter.