Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, and there are millions if not billions of users around the globe.
If you are a keen Instagram poster, who is off on your travels, you may hear that China doesn’t allow access to the platform. It can start you wondering if you can use Instagram in China, and what you can do if you lose access.
While there are restrictions for many western apps, and you can’t use Instagram, although using a virtual private network allows you to bypass the China social media censorship and access Instagram in China.
Here you can learn more about how to access Instagram, and how easy it can be to get around the restrictions for social media China censorship.
Is Instagram Blocked in China?
You will find that there are blocks on Instagram in China, and these began back in 2014. From then, there were intermittent blocks, but nowadays it faces a 100% block inside the country.
While you may think this only applies to residents, who the Chinese government restrict access, it affects travellers also.
You won’t find the Instagram app in any play stores you can access inside the country, and if you have the app installed, it will say your feed can’t be refreshed.
Why is Instagram Blocked in China?
Back in 2014, there were many pro-democracy protests happening in Hong Kong. Because the app, like many other social media platforms, could report on government actions.
The Chinese government built the Great Firewall of China. Using this, they prevented information from going to the west, and anyone from the west seeing what was happening inside the country.
Because the Chinese Communist Party thought the freedom of expression would undermine their authority, they saw this as a potential threat.
On the other side, many home-grown Instagram-like apps inside China can benefit from the social media giants reach.
Is Instagram Blocked in China 2020
Unfortunately, things don’t look so good, and the Instagram app still faces a ban inside China. However, there are certain areas where you can use the app if you are in the region.
At present, there is still access in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan where they have full access to this photo-sharing app and many other social media platforms.
What Social Media is Banned in China?
Once you see that the leading social media apps are blocked in China, it can be much deeper than you expect. There is an abundance of internet censorship, and the reason Instagram China fails.
Here you can find a rough breakdown of what social media you can access and what you can’t besides Instagram behind the Great Firewall of China.
Facebook saw a ban much earlier than Instagram, and as now owns Instagram, it is easy to see why it faces a ban. However, many don’t know that FB messenger is also inaccessible, so there is no chance to keep in touch with friends or family. (Read How To Use Whatsapp Safely)
Besides this, there is no Google Play Store, and you can’t make a Google search. Add to this Google Docs or any other service they offer.
Others that face bans are:
- Wikipedia and Quora
- The Guardian and Washington Post
- Spotify, Netflix and WhatsApp
- Bing, Telegram and countless others.
Any traveller heading to China needs to make sure they have all their apps installed before they get there. There is one workaround to get passed these restrictions.
Can Tourists Use Social Media in China?
Any traveller inside the Great Firewall of China won’t be able to access any of their social media directly. If you could find the app anywhere, you would fall over with an Instagram sign up error because you can’t complete the process.
The only way you can gain access to Instagram in China is by using a premium VPN service.
It is no good thinking you can sign up for a VPN while in China either as many VPN sites can’t be accessed.
Likewise, if you could see them, there may be blocks on the sign-up and download of the VPN client as they are among the blocked websites unless they are vetted by the Chinese.
It is possible to use the Chinese social media such as RenRen or WeChat, although you may struggle with the language on the interface. Besides this, you won’t have your friends on those platforms either. (Read How Delete Instagram Account Permanently)
Can You Use Instagram in China?
Once you look at all the above, you will see Instagram is blocked, and you can’t access Instagram in China.
There are a few things to understand about how a VPN works to bypass the restrictions because not all VPN providers are the same.
Any VPN in China has to be verified by the Chinese government, so to get around this, the chosen VPN needs a VPN server in either HK, Macau or Taiwan. It is these locations that allow you to gain access to Instagram and other blocked sites in mainland China. (Learn How To Delete Instagram Posts In Bulk)
Your VPN encrypts your data with military-grade encryption. Thus, the deep packet inspect of the Great Wall is unable to read it, and thus circumvents the restrictions.
When using a VPN, you need fast and reliable connections that work because you have limited connection options in your VPN app for China, and you may be a fair distance from the three locations which do.
Besides this, you need a VPN that prevents any data leaks. Once the Firewall kicks in, it can quickly block you if you are leaking your IP address and you will find Instagram is blocked again.
Once you have the best VPN app from the best China VPN, you can go about your daily activities as if there were no restrictions.
It doesn’t take long to realise how much a virtual private network (VPN) can help when using the internet in your daily routine, even if you are not in China.