China Media Bulletin Resources
Resources for accessing uncensored information, protecting user privacy
China's system of information control is one of the most sophisticated and restrictive in the world, and the limited space for freedom of expression has been reduced even further in recent years. Moreover, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda and censorship efforts are increasingly reaching beyond China’s borders. As a result, news and information on issues of vital importance to both Chinese citizens and the wider world have been suppressed.
To combat these trends, various actors inside China—journalists, bloggers, lawyers, and religious believers—as well as foreign governments, civil society groups, media development organizations, and technologists have been implementing strategies to protect and expand freedom of expression and access to information.
Freedom House researchers have compiled the resources and recommendations below and on related pages for China Media Bulletin readers who wish to help counter repressive CCP information controls.
No censorship circumvention tool or digital security system is perfect. The following resources are for readers’ reference. Please be sure to research and choose tools carefully based on your needs, technological knowledge, and the threat level you face.
Resources for all users:
This website is managed by the anticensorship group Greatfire.org. It provides a list of both paid and free virtual private network (VPN) services and circumvention tools, links for purchasing or downloading them, and comparative data on their speed and stability based on periodic tests from different parts of China. Among the tools listed are well-known ones like VyprVPN, FreeBrowser, Lantern, Freegate, Ultrasurf, Psiphon, Tor, and others. (The site is not accessible within the Great Firewall, so readers are advised to check and download any tools before traveling to China.)
This comprehensive resource on digital security is produced by Front Line Defenders and the Tactical Technology Collective. Among the sections is one on anonymity and censorship circumvention, which includes an explanation of how proxies function and links to sample tools.
That One Privacy Site: Maintained by a privacy expert, the site offers detailed explanations on what to consider when choosing a VPN or circumvention tool as well as comparative charts for several tools, particularly paid services.
Awesome Anti-Censorship Page via Github: The page, maintained on GitHub, lists a variety of anonymity and circumvention tools with brief descriptions and links for download. GitHub is accessible from within the Great Firewall, but some of the links on this page may not be.
Comparitech blog post: This article reviews five paid VPN tools that reportedly worked in China as of January 2018.
For journalists traveling to China:
Reporters Without Borders’ general Safety Guide for Journalists includes an informative chapter on digital security that describes precautions to take in China and some of the relevant tools that can be used, though the guide alone may not be sufficient given the tight information environment in China.
The FCCC offers a number of resources for its members working in China (accessible only with a login), including a basic guide to cybersecurity and reporting in the country.