How To Go Around The "Great Firewall of China"


Many Zimbabweans are always travelling to China for holiday or to seek business opportunities. But what most don’t know is that in China all google services are blocked. These include google website itself, Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and dropbox to name a few.
By Ndabenhle “The Nuk” Ndhlukula
Whatsapp can work at times. A way around this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a network technology that creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the Internet.
It will allow you to bypass the great china firewall for example. On android, fqrouter2 is considered as one of the best free vpns. Just search for “fqrouter2 apk”.
There are version for both rooted and unrooted devices. Only problem I have faced when using it was it cannot play YouTube videos otherwise everything else works. Another good vpn is ExpressVpn but it comes at a monthly subscription of about US$10.
ExpressVpn also works on PC, Mac, iOS, Windows phone, and of course, android. A single subscriptions allows usage on multiple devices. Remember to download and install these apps before you leave Zim. Another good free vpn for PC is SoftEther VPN.
It is without a doubt one of the best free vpns you can come across. On a good day, you can stream 4K videos on from YouTube with no buffering at all. Lately though, it hasn’t been working (October 2015).
The following apps are good if you want to survive in China for a few weeks, if not, months. Again, remember to download and install these apps before leaving for China. It shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to download, install and configure these apps.
Google Maps – download the China map.
Learn Chinese Pro – common phrase dictionary
Pleco – Mandarin dictionary
Google Translate – download the simplified Chinese offline package
AccuWeather – This is a good weather app for knowing when to take an umbrella. Weather in China is unpredictable.
NiHao – A social app
Another issue that I have witnessed with most Zimbabwean, is when it comes to buying gadgets. Remember, google services are blocked in china. Most, if not all android devices in China don’t have google services installed but come pre-loaded with Chinese region based apps.
These can only be removed by either rooting the device and uninstalling or flashing an international version of the firmware for that specific device. This can be done by going through a few YouTube tutorials but I’m pretty sure that majority of people neither have the time nor patience (aka ain’t geeks). A device without google services means you cannot add your google account and sync all your information such as contacts, calendar, apps, etc.
This also means no Google Play Store. They are of course other apps for downloading apps but the truth is everyone wants easy access to everything. For these reasons, in my opinion, buying tablets and smartphones in china isn’t worth it unless you don’t mind going through the hassle of flashing firmware or paying someone to do it for you which might cost you and extra $50 in Zim.
Buying laptops is okay as installing windows or Ubuntu OS is an extremely easy and straight-forward procedure. Hope this information helps for your next trip to the Far East.
I was recently in Shanghai for the 7 day holiday from the 1st to the 7th of October. The place and vibe are way different as compared to anywhere else in China. You don’t feel like a foreigner because there are so many foreigners around the place that it almost feels like home.
A good website to visit is smartshanghai.com. It shows all the latest events and to-go places. It also on an app on the Apple store. There is also <www.echinacities.com>
Taoche.com & xin.com , These are two good websites for anyone who intends to buy either brand new or second-hand a car in china.

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