Microsoft's Bing Helps Maintain China's Great Firewall - Bloomberg Bloomberg Great Firewall ...

Who maintains the Great Firewall of China?

The Cyberspace Administration of China

The Great Firewall was formerly operated by the SIIO, as part of the Golden Shield Project. Since 2013, the firewall is technically operated by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which is the entity in charge of translating the Chinese Communist Party’s doctrine and policy into technical specifications.

Why does Bing w ork inChina?

The search engine Bing is oTne of the last holdouts from the Western internet that is generally still accessible in China. Bing never came close to Google’s popularity in the US, but it has a small foothold in China. Microsoft chose to comply with China’s censorship laws to maintain its presence in the Chinese market.

However, in January 2019, Bing experienced an outage across China that left many users panicking. There were fears that Bing had joined the list of forbidden sites, despite it being back in service the next day.

Rather than worrying about losing the last tie to Western media in China, there’s a simple fix for users looking to ensure that they can always access Bing. A VPN will help you bypass strict censorship while also making your connection safer.

Not all VPNs can bypass the Great Firewall of China, but ExpressVPN stands up to the task.

Why You Need a VPN to Access Bing in China

Unlike Google, China doesn’t necessarily block Bing from users within the country. That doesn’t prevent the site from occasionally being blocked.  Microsoft wouldn’t confirm what caused the outage, but despite service returning a day later, many users were understandably concerned.

A good VPN can ensure that your access to a free and unrestricted internet remains open, even if China chooses to block Bing again in the future. They do this by allowing you to connect to a

How to Use a VPN in China

1. Download and install ExpressVPN on your device. Once you’re in China, open the app and look at your Specialty Servers.

2. Go to Settings in the top left corner. There will be a list on the left side of your screen that includes Advanced. This will open the option to turn on Obfuscated Servers. Click the switch to turn them on. It will also turn blue when it’s activated.

3. Return to the Servers page. Now you’ll see Obfuscated Servers listed under Specialty Servers. You’re most likely to get optimal service if you choose a server that’s closer to China. Singapore or Hong Kong are good options, but any foreign server will unblock blacklisted websites.

server in a foreign country. This action will mask your IP address, concealing your real location from your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

When you route your traffic through a VPN, it will also encrypt your data as it moves through a secure channel between your device and the VPN server. This way, you’re also protected from hackers and government surveillance. 

The Great Firewall was deployed in China as early as 1996, under the direction of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, at which time the initiative was called The Golden Shield Project. In 2013, administration of the Great Firewall shifted to the Cyberspace Administration of China.

The goal of the Great Firewall is to shield Chinese residents from certain information that the People’s Republic of China considers to be counter to the best interests of the government and people of China. The firewall blocks entire websites and filters content on sites that are not completely blocked.

How does the Great Firewall of China block content?

The Great Firewall of China blocks content using a variety of different techniques.

At the most basic level, all internet traffic coming into and out of China via terrestrial links through network access points can be inspected in one way or another by government authorities. With that access, the Great Firewall can block entire domains and IP address ranges from being accessible within the borders of the People’s Republic of China.

Services and websites blocked by the Great Firewall

The People’s Republic of China blocks an evergrowing list of services and websites with the Great Firewall. The most notable services blocked include the following:

  • BBC
  • Discord
  • Dropbox
  • Facebook
  • Netflix
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Reuters
  • Twitter
  • The Economist
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • Google search services
  • Reddit
  • YouTube
  • Zoom
  • Some Wikipedia entries

While many domains and services are blocked in China, there is no shortage of other services available that specifically cater to those behind the Great Firewall.

Microsoft, for example, has developed a China-specific version of its Bing search engine. Amazon has also built a China-specific site. Moreover, Chinese users have access to WeChat and Weibo for social networking, and Didi provides a Chinese version of a ride-sharing service.

Dangers of creating the Great Firewall

The Great Firewall is intended to shield Chinese citizens from information that the government of the People’s Republic of China considers to be dangerous. But this splinternet creates another set of dangers. The Great Firewall is in effect a massive form of internet censorship, limiting the ability of those within China to freely access any information source they choose.

Without free and open access, the internet can become a medium for government propaganda that hides information, and in some cases can fuel disinformation about any number of different topics. While users outside China generally have open access, disinformation can still occu

How to bypass the Great Firewall of China

Ever since the Great Firewall was first deployed, those within China and people outside of it have tried various techniques to get past it.

The most often cited approach is to use some form of a VPN to create an encrypted tunnel that will not allow government authorities to see where the traffic is going. The challenge with the VPN approach is that the Chinese government actively searches for VPN access points to block them. It is also potentially possible to bypass the Great Firewall with proxy servers that have not yet been identified by Chinese authorities.

Using the Tor privacy network is another potential approach to attempt to bypass the Great Firewall. As with regular VPNs, the Chinese government is actively looking for Tor nodes to block access. Users can still bypass the Great Firewall with Tor, but it’s a process that involves constant adjustment to stay a step ahead. Among the most up-to-date listings of VPN services that might work to bypass the Great Firewall is Circumvention Central, which offers information in Chinese and in English

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