Advice Request Need VPN/software to access banned Google services. Any suggestions?

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peterfat11

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My family and I are planning to visit our relatives in China for a few months. However, the internet there is quite restricted and Google services are completely blocked. My parents heavily rely on Google services such as Gmail and YouTube, which are blocked. I was wondering if there are any VPNs or software that can help circumvent the Great Firewall and access these websites.

After some research, most of the VPN websites recommending "China VPNs" are just ads that don't even make sense. On Reddit, I found that most of the well-known VPN services have low success rates and slow speeds or are unreachable.


I would greatly appreciate it if you could share any experiences or knowledge you may have on this topic.
 

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There are several VPNs that are known to work well in China, including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and VyprVPN. These VPNs have been tested and proven to be effective in bypassing the Great Firewall of China and accessing blocked websites such as Google services. However, it's worth noting that the Chinese government actively tries to block VPNs, so it's important to use a reliable and secure VPN service. In addition to VPNs, some users have also had success using Shadowsocks, a SOCKS5 proxy tool that can help bypass China's censorship.
 
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Zero Knowledge

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No. There isn't a working Vpn for China. They are all blocked, backdoored or severely limited. The only thing that used to work is ShadowSocks but I think they have cracked down and blocked it. The great Firewall reacts very quickly to circumvention tools and blocks them. The only reason a Vpn would be working in China would be a corporate one, they are sort of allowed to do business.

Not much help but there isn't a solution to your answer. If a E2EE app or Vpn works in such heavy censorship countries, you have to ask 'Why?' and assume they have backdoor access to such tools or have other means to access the device you're using. You're just going to have to go without Gmail and YouTube for a few months.
 

Victor M

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You will do without Gmail for only a couple of months. Perhaps you can set up email forwarding from Gmail to a Chinese email provider. Explore and enjoy the local internet sights and sounds. I don't want you to have the secret police knocking on your door and getting hauled in for questioning. Your nationality means nothing to them, your embassy will not protect you because you are breaking local laws. Their justice system is totally foreign. It is not that you are just sitting at home behind closed doors and doing whatever pleases you. You don't have any rights. And you certainly have no right to do anything that the state forbids. Better not to learn cultural shock the hard way.
 
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peterfat11

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I highly doubt that would happen. There are westerners living in China who have YouTube channels they regularly upload to.
Yes that was what I was wondering about. How did they do that? I remember some people talking about v2ray servers can bypass the gfw. But again, I am not there yet so I am not sure whether that works or not.
 

Zero Knowledge

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Yes that was what I was wondering about. How did they do that? I remember some people talking about v2ray servers can bypass the gfw. But again, I am not there yet so I am not sure whether that works or not.
Good question. As I said if a bypass or circumvention tool works you have to ask 'Why?' because basically all tools are blocked at the Great Firewall or are backdoored. This is the same for all similar regimes and countries, they follow the same playbook in blocking content. YouTube posters could be pro-government and allowed to post videos or are using a government/business connection Vpn to upload videos on the sly behind their bosses back.

Software or services like v2ray and ShadowSocks and Snowflake work for a short while but then the network admins figure them out and block it. The only other reason they would last is that the government uses them for offensive cyber operations.
 

peterfat11

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Good question. As I said if a bypass or circumvention tool works you have to ask 'Why?' because basically all tools are blocked at the Great Firewall or are backdoored. This is the same for all similar regimes and countries, they follow the same playbook in blocking content. YouTube posters could be pro-government and allowed to post videos or are using a government/business connection Vpn to upload videos on the sly behind their bosses back.

Software or services like v2ray and ShadowSocks and Snowflake work for a short while but then the network admins figure them out and block it. The only other reason they would last is that the government uses them for offensive cyber operations.
That's not entirely true. Some Chinese creators make completely non politics/government related content, such as food, electronics and game are able to post on YouTube im China just fine. The gfw isn't perfect as you said there is bypasses, so I am hoping to find one.

But thanks for the input that definitely a valid point.
 

Zero Knowledge

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Some Chinese creators make completely non politics/government related content, such as food, electronics and game are able to post on YouTube im China just fine.
I guess that would be my point, 'non-political' content is probably tolerated in some way even though not explicitly. For business I believe Vpn's are still OK, but it changes daily on what's acceptable, back in the day 10+ years ago consumer Vpn's were fine to use by ex-pats and foreigners when I was there a while ago but now, I'm not sure.

But If you have relatives there and you have a Chinese background then can't you ask people when your there? Probably the best advice is to feel it out when you arrive.

As long as you're not involved in political descent or protests you should be fine. That's the key to such countries, stay out of anything politics and enjoy your stay (y).
 
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Ink

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It's safer to leave any personal devices in the country of your residence.

Take a burner phone, or buy used basic iPad without any of sensitive stored data.

Use Invidious.io over YouTube.

 
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Victor M

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Do what Bill Gates does every year, buy some books that you've always intended to read and read them while you're there. You tube doesn't mean much to me, not part of that generation. It's just entertainment. If you're in the IT field, there are always things that need catching up on. Use the opportunity to give your career a boost. Away from the office din, you can enjoy the luxury of concentrating on what you want. Like earning a coveted cert. Or planning for that startup.
 
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amirr

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Do what Bill Gates does every year, buy some books that you've always intended to read and read them while you're there. You tube doesn't mean much to me, not part of that generation. It's just entertainment. If you're in the IT field, there are always things that need catching up on. Use the opportunity to give your career a boost. Away from the office din, you can enjoy the luxury of concentrating on what you want. Like earning a coveted cert. Or planning for that startup.
I agree with your point of view. You reminded me of this video:
Louis CK Everything is amazing & Nobody is happy - YouTube hxxps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdFB7q89_3U
 

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