Netflix & Chill in China? Not so much.

So you have had a busy day working or exploring and your head feels like it's about to explode.  You turn on Netflix and your heart sinks. Netflix is unavailable in China.

Been there.  So you pick up the remote and revert back to the old standby and browse through local channels.  This was my go-to option for about a week.  After about a week this is not going to work, after being immersed all day in another culture the after-school special'ish style drama of the TV shows, military themes, and predictable romances may not be hitting the spot. I haven't even yet got to how isolated from your friends and family you will feel. With the time difference, it practically takes blood and sweat to keep in touch without your favorite social media platforms.

“This is a significantly escalated form of internet control and shows there is unprecedented urgency...” said Xiao Qiang, a professor focusing on censorship in China at the University of California, Berkeley.

Surprisingly, it's not China blocking Netflix.  Your favorite shows and movies have to be licensed for viewing in the country you are in. Basically, no license, no Netflix.   Is there a way around this? Sure. You can use a VPN, however, keep in mind that China is cracking down on VPN usage and so is Netflix so this isn't going to be as easy as it used to be. 

Tips for selecting a VPN provider:

  • NOT Based in China- If its based in China chances are it may be shut down soon.
  • Servers Galore-  Whatever your price range, check the number of servers and go with the one with the highest number. Think of it this way, more servers, more bandwidth to see your best friends pouty face selfies on Instagram.
  • Verified (recently) to work in China-  I've given you some VPN comparisons below, all have been tested in China this year. App reviews won't be enough, you need to do your research on this one.
  • Good privacy policy - Don't go through all the trouble to get a VPN and let the provider do whatever they want (i.e. sell your browsing history or worse selling your internet connection) with your info. If the company's policy is "We don't keep logs" that's a good sign.

    If its important to you to access your normal news platforms and social media then I highly recommend springing for a paid VPN service. Top 3  reasons?
  1. Safety -Paid VPN's allow you access to protocols that are secure
  2. Faster - Especially if you like watching videos. Remember dial-up, yeah you never want to go back to those speeds again
  3.  Availability - Because getting disconnected repeatedly because of all the free user traffic is really annoying.

Moral of the story. Get a  VPN. Get it before you travel if at all possible. I'm not going to just leave you empty-handed. Check out these 2018 articles for great up to date VPN reviews.

Comparitech: Whats the best VPN for China?

Startupliving: Whats the best VPN for China?

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