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Update 2011 - Unblock Facebook In China
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Nowadays, more and more expats and Chinese citizens are looking to unblock Facebook in China. Facebook is becoming a social media platform that's doing much more than keeping you posted on what your friends are doing. Facebook is causing political change, and because of this, the future of Facebook in China becomes more bleak every day.

Recent political shifts in Egypt, nicknamed the "Twitter Revolution" was of course not wholly caused by the massive microblogger site, but the role they played cannot be overlooked. The ease and speed that the Twitter users were able to connect and communicate with each other not only helped them to consolidate their ideas and form organized groups, it helped them to organize meetings places and times to make their political unrest felt by those who refused to listen. This is what the Chinese government fears, and this is why they refuse to unblock Facebook in China.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg recently made a trip to China and met with officials, but the nature, and result of his visit is unknown. The future of Facebook in China was most likely discussed, but as an expat in China, my personal opinion is that much like Google's compromise with China, only an outcome leaving both parties unhappy is possible. Facebook wants the freedom to connect, China want the power to control this connection.

Despite the fact that more and more sites like Facebook are becoming blocked in China, and are so with ever more advanced technology, the desire of foreigners who are living in China as well as Chinese citizens to maintain contact with the "outside world" means that they are on the constant search of means to unblock Facebook in China. In past years, free anonymous proxies were a common and readily available solution. China quickly caught on and blocked these free anonymous proxies, and even sponsored some of their own to track IP addresses and track user data.

So to unblock Facebook in China, people in China have begun to turn to vpn technology. Vpn's like anonymous proxies allow the user to change their IP address by sending information to a server beyond The Great Firewall before being sent off again to the destination originally they originally intended. However, unlike anonymous proxies, extra layers of encryption and coding are added in order to hide the IP address and other private information of the user. Vpn's are much more difficult to detect and block.

With that said, China's Firewall is still keeping users on their toes, and in March 2011 blocked all PPTP and L2TP protocols, making vpn's on mobile devices useless. This was perhaps the result of the events in Egypt which occurred not long before the block. This was just one more brick in the wall of internet censorship. The block of these vpn protocols also resulted in users being denied access to some of the larger vpn companies' main sites, companies like 12vpn, Witopia, Strongvpn, and Freedur. Most of the companies have recovered, but how long will it be before China's government again attempts to block these vpn services?

Regardless of the blocks and strengthening of The Great Firewall in China, both Chinese and foreign Facebook users are still finding ways to unblock Facebook in China. Vpn's are still widely used, and while PPTP and L2TP protocols are blocked for the time being, SSL/OpenVpn and SSTP protocols are still widely available. The Chinese say that, "People fear fame like a pig fears being fat", and some of the bigger names in vpn services have encouraged users to keep discussions about vpn services in China out of the public forums in order to prevent future blocks. Even though larger vpn services in China run the risk a gaining too much traffic, popularity and therefore the attention of the Chinese government, there will always be small vpn services popping up here and there that will keep the use of vpn's to unblock Facebook in China going strong.

You can get up to date information on the status of Facebook in China, how to unblock Facebook, Gmail in China, and other tips and articles related to using vpn's at my personal blog by clicking on the links provided.


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