VPNs in Xinjiang

All about China. Expert: bwv812
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Renangreinert
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VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by Renangreinert »

Hi everybody,

Has anyone had the smartphones searched when going to Xinjiang? Do they delete the VPNs?
I am in Mongolia now, and I am planning to cross the west board between Mongolia and China, and then head to Tadjikistan. But I will need vpn to access the Tadjikistan e-visa website (the payment screen opens my bank website, and it is blocked in China).
Also, if someone has crossed that border recentrly, I would love to hear about the experience :)

Thanks!
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Robinosaurus!
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by Robinosaurus! »

Cycled Xinjiang couple of weeks ago. I removed my VPN from the phone homescreen and renamed it from "PIA VPN" to just "PIA". Nobody noticed, they only looked through WeChat, emails and pictures (but they do look between 0 and 5 times per day, definitely closer looks at border crossings in and out).

PIA doesn't work in Xinjiang, ExpressVPN did last week but was temperamental and may have been blocked by now. Expect poorer performance than you're used to. Only use on wifi or your sim may be blocked. If you use it on a phone with wechat, even on wifi, then your wechat account may be blocked.
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Renangreinert
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by Renangreinert »

Perfect, thank you for the tips!
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Lovetheworld
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by Lovetheworld »

Why not already get your Tajikistan e-visa? To be on the safe side.

Once Chinese customs touch your phone I would consider it as "lost". Yes you can still use it, but there is probably some sort of spyware installed, and your VPNs might be gone. So I would, maybe even before but at least after China, reset the whole thing to factory defaults. And change all your passwords.
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rhinomaxil
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by rhinomaxil »

Hi all,

I will go to Xinjiang in a few days, crossing the border from Mongolia, and I was wondering what was the final word on VPN use there. It is still a bit unclear to me reading the posts above and other threads on caravanistan.

Has someone been using VPNs in Xinjiang? If I have one on my phone, could it be a reason for them not to let me in at the border? Without a VPN, how is it possible to keep in touch with family and friends abroad?

Thanks a lot for your help!
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steven
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by steven »

To keep in touch with friends and family, use for instance WeChat. I haven't read of anyone being refused entry because they had a VPN on their phone.

Most VPNs do not work in China.

https://caravanistan.com/east-turkestan ... d-sim-card
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StephParis
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by StephParis »

I've just left Xinjiang (and China). I had Express on my phone and it worked pretty well almost everywhere. I entered Xinjiang by plane from abroad and they did not check my phone. They did when I left overland, but they were only interested with my photos, not with the vpn.
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rhinomaxil
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by rhinomaxil »

Thanks for the reply! I am now in Xinjiang with ExpressVPN and it is working as well. They didn’t check my phone when I crossed the border coming from Mongolia.

Can you use your VPN with your Chinese SIM card? I have read somewhere that it may result in your SIM being blocked so I have only use mine with WIFI so far but I’m not convinced this is true.
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rhinomaxil
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by rhinomaxil »

I’ll answer my own question: you can use a VPN with your Chinese SIM card
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blakep76
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Re: VPNs in Xinjiang

Post by blakep76 »

Sept 16th-22nd is Internet Safety Week in China.
There have been a lot of crackdowns the past couple of days on formerly functioning VPNs.... Many expats are complaining about it.
Additionally the first week of October is Chinese National Day(s) which is a notorious time for The Great Firewall to be toughened up - especially since this year is the 70th anniversary, and with all the goings on in Hong Kong.
Worth downloading 4 or 5 free ones, and hiding them as an email attachment or something. In all likeliness most (any?) won't be working well for the next 3 weeks or so.
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