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TunnelBear Works in China But Only if You Do This

China started banning VPNs from March 31, 2018. While most VPN providers are unable to provide services in China, there are some companies that claim their services are still available in the country.

TunnelBear is one of the VPNs that claim they can unblock content in China. Does TunnelBear work in China? Let’s see.

China blocks VPNs

China is known for its strict censorship laws. Beijing has built an almost foolproof digital wall around the country and it’s called the Great Firewall of China. For the last few years, they have been updating their firewall and have made it more impenetrable.

Beijing makes sure that all online traffic moves through just the licensed channels. This has changed the ways big corporations use VPNs to access data outside China.

For example, if you’re in China, you’ll need a VPN to access Google services, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

While people living in other countries might use a VPN to access streaming services or to get lower airfares, people in China need a VPN to access even the most basic websites. If you’ve ever been to China in the recent past, you’d be familiar with a VPN.

Unfortunately, there are not many VPNs that can help you access the internet in China, and there are even fewer VPNs that will do it for free. This is where TunnelBear comes in.

How TunnelBear Bypasses the Great Firewall with GhostBear

TunnelBear works in 47 countries and one of them is Hong Kong. If you’re traveling to China, you can connect to their Hong Kong servers to bypass the great firewall.

How does this work?

TunnelBear has a feature called GhostBear, which disguises your VPN traffic so that it looks like regular internet traffic.

The Chinese Firewall uses Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to identify internet traffic and block certain forms of traffic. GhostBear uses a technology called Obfsproxy which changes your traffic signature in a number of ways to look like regular (non-VPN) traffic.

One of the great things about TunnelBear is its free app, and GhostBear is included! This means that you don’t have to pay to access content in China.

While GhostBear is a great technology for anyone traveling to China, it does make the connection a bit slower. So it is not recommended for people who want high speeds and are not in the high surveillance zone.

Users should also note that GhostBear is not available on iOS; however, it does work on Windows, Mac, and Android.

How to Use TunnelBear’s GhostBear in China

The first step to using TunnelBear is to make sure you download and install it BEFORE you land in China.

(If you happen to be in China already without a VPN, you should read this article that will help you out.)

If you run into trouble while you’re in China, you can email TunnelBear at and they will help you out. They generally reply within a couple of hours.

Once it’s installed, here is how you can use their VPN to secure your connection. We did this on our Android phone, but it works the same for your Windows or Mac computer.

1. Open the TunnelBear app

screenshot of mobile TunnelBear UIOpen your TunnelBear app and log in

2. Select a server outside of China. For Facebook, Gmail, and other simple websites we suggest the Hong Kong server, since its close proximity will improve speed.

screenshot of TunnelBear's app — Available countriesChoose a server outside of China and connect

3. Click on the hamburger icon on the top left. It will take you to settings. Click on Options.

screenshot of TunnelBear's app OptionsOpen the settings and click on "GhostBear"

4. Click on GhostBear. It will take you to another page where there will be a toggle switch for Use GhostBear. Toggle it on.

screenshot of TunnelBear's UI with GhostBearActivate the GhostBear feature

5. It will take just a few seconds and you’ll be connected to the Hong Kong server. There will be a tunnel on the screen with a bear head popping through it. This means you’re connected and are secure.

screenshot of TunnelBear Successful connection statusYou can now access the internet in China

The entire process is very simple and takes just a few seconds. If for some reason, you’re unable to connect to TunnelBear Ghostbear, you can email their customer support and they’ll quickly reply.

Get TunnelBear for Free

TunnelBear works in China, and it’s a fantastic VPN to have. If you’re only going to China for a few days, you can probably use the free version, which is limited to 500MB per month.  (1.5GB if you tweet about them.)

However, if you want to stream content, or if you’ll be there on business, it’s probably worthwhile to buy a plan with unlimited data.

Click here to get TunnelBear for Free

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

About the Author

Sarit is an experienced internet security writer who believes everyone has the right to online privacy.

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