How To: Access Facebook from China

Visiting Facebook in China is hard because the site is blocked by government censorship. But it’s still possible to visit while in China. Here’s how to do it on any major operating system.

There are a few different ways to access Facebook from China. Each has pros and cons. These are the main methods:

  • Use a VPN. A VPN will route your traffic around China’s Great Firewall so that you can visit and other sites that are censored. However, be sure to choose a VPN that works well in China (see our top ratings for VPNs in China here). This is important because the Chinese government actively attempts to block VPNs, which means not all VPNs work well in the country.
  • Install the Tor browser. Tor, which is free, will also let you circumvent Chinese censorship to get to Facebook. The big drawbacks here are that 1) Tor browser is only available on some operating systems (most notably, Apple iOS is not well supported); 2) Tor restricts your bandwidth, making it hard to do things like view videos; and 3) with this method you can only access the browser version of — the standalone Facebook app for smartphones and tablets won’t work because they run independently of the Tor browser.
  • Use a proxy service. Proxy services are another route around censorship. Most are free. However, the drawbacks are that 1) the Chinese government works hard to block most proxies, so your success with this method is likely to be hit-and-miss; and 2) free proxy services tend to spy on users — which may or may not be a concern for you.
  • Use roaming data service. If you’re in China with a foreign smartphone, you should be able to access the Internet using roaming data mode and get to Facebook. That’s because roaming data is routed through your home country’s servers and then sent back to your location (which in this case is China). Chinese censors can’t block it. Be aware, however, that roaming data can be very expensive — so if you’re cost-conscious, check your carrier’s details before attempting this method. Obviously, this method won’t work on a PC or laptop that is not connected to a mobile data line.

3 thoughts on “How To: Access Facebook from China”

  1. When using the roaming data service on your foreign mobile in China, is it best to use a VPN as well to keep Chinese carriers from tracking your activity or does the VPN not matter in this use case?

  2. When using roaming data service on your foreign mobile in China, would it still be best to use a VPN on your phone so that when the data is sent back to you (from your US carrier and then China carrier) the China carrier can’t easily identify and track your activity, or does it not matter?

  3. The problem is now the Chinese government send trolls to Facebook to haruss their opponents like the newly elected Taiwan president and Chinese dissidents. As a real Chinese Facebook users, I often been mistaken for a troll, this is really bothering me.

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