The Great Firewall of China (also GFW or the “Firewall”) is an Internet censorship system of laws and web filtering technologies enforced by the People's Republic of China to domestically control web traffic.
What is Great Firewall of China?
The Great Firewall of China is the combination of legislative actions and technologies that, while not imposing complete Internet censorship, severely restricts citizens' access to foreign information. The Great Firewall began operating in 1998 after the State Council of China passed an administrative order entitled “Management Methods for Internet Information Services”.
The first action taken on a legislative basis to block foreign web content was the creation of the Golden Shield Project by combining central government and public security efforts. Tencent, one of China's top Internet companies, is also involved in the operation of the Great Firewall.
The technologies used include IP address blocking, in which requests from computers with certain IP addresses are not allowed to pass through the Great Firewall. Port blocking is also used, though less frequently — requests originating from port 80 are blocked by default, although this can be lifted for individual sites that meet what is called ” strict conditions”, and other ports may be targeted as well depending on the whim of Chinese censors.
DNS tampering and redirection
DNS tampering and redirection are also used; when a user attempts to visit a blacklisted site, their request is redirected to another page which displays the error message “the connection was reset”, or similar. Internet service providers offer virtual private networks an exclusive communist party to get internet traffic on the websites.
How does the great firewall of China work?
The Great Firewall of China is the Chinese government's scheme to censor the internet. It blocks any websites that don't agree with their policies. If you try to access a website that has been censored by the great firewall, it will simply show you an error message which says “the connection was reset”. The Chinese law gives blocks access to the Chinese internet with unauthorized VPN services to local officials.
Types of filters
There are three different kinds of filters that the great firewall uses.
The first is keyword filtration which means it blocks any website with a word on its blacklist. For example, if you've been blocked for searching for “Egypt”, then this would be one of the results: Some websites that have been censored by China include Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Times.
The second filter is URL filtration which means it blocks any website with a specific address, so if you've been blocked searching for “facebook.com” then this would be how it looks:
The third and final filter is packet filtration which means it blocks all traffic to and from your computers.
How to get away from these filters?
If you've been blocked by any of these filters, don't worry as there is a way to get around them! The only problem with the great firewall is that it stops people from accessing many useful websites such as those which teach you different languages and those which help students with their homework.
There are two ways to get around the great firewall. The first is by using a proxy. If you've been blocked for example searching for Facebook, then typing “facebook.com” into google and pressing “I'm feeling lucky” will take you to an unblocked proxy website that has the address of facebook.com on its home page. Simply click on it and ta-da! This is one of the easiest ways to get around it.
The second way, and best way, to get around the great firewall is by using a trusted VPN service. A Virtual Private Network encrypts all data being sent over the internet between your computer and the VPN's server. That means that when you go online, everything you do will be hidden from the Chinese government. It also means that you can visit any website without it being censored! That's why the great firewall has not been able to stop people from using VPNs to do whatever they want on the internet.
What internet does China block?
China's one of the most influential countries in terms of technology and it is a leading country in the arena of information technology. Not only does China have a significant role in shaping up IT but also China Government has implemented a strong set of policies to propel this industry at an exponential rate. In line with its policy, from time to time, China has introduced new schemes and strategies to strengthen the online presence of its Government.
China's government has come up with very strict rules for its Web users regarding accessing websites that are not favorable towards China. If you try to access these kinds of sites, an error message comes up saying ‘This website is not accessible.' This means that you have been restricted from surfing the website you are trying to access.
More about the Chinese citizens
China's government has blocked a number of websites that contain content that is unfavorable towards China or its Government. Most of these websites are related to Taiwan, Tibet, and China independence movements which include human rights issues within China national security issues, etc… Some of the popular websites include Google Scholar, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, Wikipedia, etc…
In addition to this, China has also blocked a number of non-profit websites that do not promote any kind of content. These sites include well-known international NGO's such as UNICEF and WHO. All in all, there are around 170 blocked websites which include 18 social networking websites.
Although China Government has blocked a number of websites, today we will be taking you through a tour of some of the most popular websites which the China Government has blocked.
Content that China geo-blocks
Wikipedia is one of the most famous websites in terms of information and it is not accessible from within China. If you try to access Wikipedia from the within China website, an error message saying ‘This webpage is not available' comes up. It means that you are either restricted or prohibited from accessing the webpage you are trying to reach.
Adobe Flash Player
Adobe Flash Player is software used to view multimedia content online and offline on your computer. If you try to access the Adobe Flash Player website from within China, an error message saying ‘The connection was reset comes up. It means that your IP address has been banned from accessing the content on this website.
Tibet is a remote region in China that borders India, Nepal, and Myanmar. In order to get access to news or information related to Tibet, you will have to get through Chinese censors. In other words, if you try to get the news of Tibet from within China, you will get an error message saying ‘This website is not available.'
YouTube is a popular video site that allows users to upload and share videos. But due to certain problems with China government, it's blocked in China. If you try to access YouTube from the within China website, an error message comes up saying ‘The connection was reset.'
Google Scholar and Gmail
China has also blocked Google Scholar and Gmail. If you try to use any of these three services from within China, an error message comes up which says ‘This webpage is not available or ‘Server cannot be found.'
China's government doesn't just block websites, it also blocks the IP addresses that are linked with those websites. This means that even if the website is unblocked, you still will not be able to access it as long as you are in China.