How to unblock Wikipedia in China

Julie Cole
Julie Cole | Contributing Writer
Last updated: June 2, 2022
How to unblock Wikipedia in China
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Since late April 2019, the Chinese government started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia. Previously, the blocking was limited to Wikipedia’s Chinese language edition. Sadly, the online censors behind the Great Firewall of China have now expanded the ban to include all Wikipedia subdomains.

This means that if you’re traveling in China, looking up the size of the terracotta army or the history of the Ming dynasty on Wiki is no longer an option.

Or is it?

Why is Wikipedia blocked in China?

Wikipedia is one of the richest sources of freely accessible information on the planet. And unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 70+ years, you’re probably aware that “freely accessible information” is something the Communist Party of China views with suspicion. Unless the information is state-approved.

The Chinese government issued no official statement regarding their reasons behind the Wikipedia block. That said, it’s safe to assume that China enacted the ban in preparation to the launch of its own online encyclopedia.

With more than 20,000 people hired to create China’s version of Wikipedia, Chinese officials plan to include “300,000 entries at about 1,000 words each” sometime in 2019.

Unlike Wikipedia, where volunteers add and edit new content, pre-selected scholars from China’s state-run universities will author the new “sinopedia’s” entries. Yeah, good luck with that.

How a good VPN can bypass the Great Firewall

The Chinese government is notorious for its unbridled enforcement of online censorship that puts the majority of the country’s internet population behind the Great Firewall of China. Wikipedia is but a drop in the ocean of thousands of Western websites blocked in the past two decades.

That said, “climbing the Firewall” to access the entire uncensored web is not as difficult as it may seem. All it takes to bypass China’s online censorship apparatus is a good VPN service.

Unfortunately, not all VPNs are equally capable of bypassing censorship. Only a handful are capable of breaching the country’s Deep Packet Inspection technique and unblock Wikipedia in China.

While some popular VPNs are merely unable to “climb the Firewall,” others are actually government-owned spyware apps in disguise. Using the wrong VPN to unblock Wikipedia can land you in trouble with the local authorities.

The best VPN for unblocking Wikipedia in China

We’ve tested the best VPNs for “climbing over the Firewall” and unblocking Wikipedia in China. Here’s our top pick for accessing the biggest online encyclopedia on the planet safely and easily:

Flawless privacy practices, advanced security features, and reliable geo-unblocking capabilities make NordVPN the undisputed industry leader. Whatever your needs, this VPN has you covered – all starting from just $3.30/month.
  • Excellent security
  • Great server list
  • Awesome for Netflix
  • Good for torrenting
  • Very easy to use
  • Affordable prices

China blocks VPNs. So what?

Late last year, the Chinese government has decided to ban all non-state-approved VPN providers. As with all things Communist, though, the actual enforcement of this blanket ban has been spotty, at best.

However, many mobile VPNs that are based in Mainland China are likely “circumventing” the ban by providing backdoors to the Chinese government.

That said, some top-notch VPNs operating outside China employ sophisticated anti-censorship features like stealth VPN and proprietary tunneling protocols to successfully defeat any attempts to block Western websites like Wikipedia.

Ban or no ban, unblocking Wikipedia in China is still possible. All you have to do is choose the right VPN service.

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  1. Jimmy

    Express VPN is safe with no doubt, but most of its servers are hard to connect and with low speed recently in China, only 4 to 7 servers(hongkong, japan, british, us) are able to be connected, most of the time japan’s are unavailable, us'(san antonio, los angeles) are the most stable, so what’s the point of so many servers with that high price but only few work with low speed. I just tried 1 month now I will ignore it, so if you are in china, don’t buy it.
    the other two I don’t know.

    1. Konrad Strauss

      Hi, Jimmy, if you’re having trouble with ExpressVPN in China, be sure to give NordVPN or Astrill a go. Both have a huge server presence in Asia and aren’t known for connection problems.  

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