This year hasn’t been good for Chinese users looking to retain their internet freedom. The “Great Wall of China”, China’s firewall, is getting stronger and more advanced while the government has started to target and crack down on anyone getting around it. Most anonymous proxies already don’t work in China, as well as most VPN providers. Popular sites like Google and Facebook are already restricted in China–including the Chinese version of Wikipedia, but now, in only the last few days, all versions of Wikipedia are now blocked behind the government’s firewall.
The Chinese version has been blocked for the better part of a decade so the government can control the thoughts and knowledge of its population. It was first blocked for 19 days in June 2004 around the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and later blocks also offered in September 2004 and October 2005.
Now speculations have arisen that Wikipedia has changed its root protocol from HTTP to HTTPS; it’s harder for China to filter or censor specific pages of information. Instead of filtering it, the government has just taken it down altogether.
Founder Jimmy Wales spoke out at the Energy Summit in Asia explaining how China “is no longer able to filter out individual pages. So they have made a choice of all of Wikipedia or none.”
While China’s censorship of its citizens is getting increasingly more aggressive and thus problematic for users who want access to online content, users can use TorGuard Stealth VPN service as well as the new TorGuard Stealth Proxy feature to bypass safely and effectively the firewall entirely. TorGuard Stealth VPN and Stealth Proxy were designed to be invisible and untraceable in places like China that use deep packet inspection.