Which websites are not banned by China

10 things that are prohibited in China

The Chinese economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, which led to China as a world economic power in the XIX. Century originated. The Chinese authorities have used billions of dollars to provide foreign investors with an open economy. However, the communist government has penal laws that have had positive and negative effects on the economy. In administering these laws, Chinese regulators in recent years have banned the use of the following items.

1. Google

Although it is number 1 in the Alexa rankings and the number 1 search engine in the world, Google is banned in China. The ban also includes Google-affiliated websites such as Gmail, Picasa, and Google Maps. Google was blocked by the Chinese government in 2014, but some Google related sites like Google Plus and Google Docs were blocked earlier in 2011. The Chinese government justified the ban by saying that Google wanted to save information about Chinese usage on non-Chinese servers, which was unacceptable for China. The Beijing-based government is also unfamiliar with the freedom of access for Google users, and therefore Chinese citizens could potentially have access to inflammatory content from the Internet and filtering such content is problematic even with the grand firewall. Other explanations are quite controversial, including a theory claiming that the decision to block Google in China was to encourage domestic use of the Chinese alternative search engine Baidu, the content of which is subject to Chinese censorship.

2. Facebook

The largest social media page, Facebook, was blocked in China in July 2009. The social media site was widespread across China, but events in 2009 led the Chinese government to decide to block it. In July 2009, and Xingjiang activists used Facebook to organize widespread violent clashes that resulted in the deaths of 200 people, many of whom were women and children. These protests, known as the Urumqi Riots, were the last straw and prompted the Chinese government to block Facebook in China. China has accepted this decision despite frequent visits from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to Beijing.

3. Snapchat

The popular mobile picture sharing app, Snapchat, has also been blocked by the Chinese government. Snapchat was blocked on the grounds that the app could store personal information about Chinese citizens on servers outside of China. However, Chinese citizens don't seem to need the mobile app due to the exponential growth of a Chinese equivalent called QQ, which has an estimated 73 million users across the country.


Social media giant, Twitter was banned in China in June 2009 as the country was about to watch the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. Beijing was nervous about Chinese citizens' use of social media, which the government believes could be used by dissidents to spread information about inflammation. According to the Chinese government, the social media website has been banned for violating China's media censorship law. The lack of Twitter in China doesn't create a vacuum, however, as Chinese social media fanatics use the popular local equivalent, Weibo. Despite the ban, Twitter has over 10 million users in China using VPNs to break through the government's firewall.

5. Instagram

Instagram was another major picture sharing mobile app that should be banned in China. The Chinese government banned the mobile app on September 19th, 2014. The ban was the result of the use of the mobile app by participants in the 2014 pro-democracy protests that engulfed Hong Kong city. Participants in the protests used Instagram to share pictures of what was happening in the city while encouraging other citizens to join in. Despite the protests, the ban on the mobile app was never lifted and is still enforced today.

6. Pinterest

Pinterest became the latest website to be banned by the Chinese government after the popular image-sharing website was banned in March 2017. The ban came as quite a surprise to its users, to say the least, as the usual content on Pinterest is not seen as polarizing or sensitive to national security. The content shared by Pinterest users is usually fashion conscious and therefore critics do not believe the ban was politically initiated but could be a protectionist move by Beijing. Several local websites have sprung up to fill in the void that Pinterest has left, including BABA, an Alibaba subsidiary.

7. Web pages

China is actively blocking the use of thousands of websites every day as it continues to enforce its censorship laws. Websites believed to be spreading false information or revealing content are selected by China's Internet Police, which is estimated to have up to 2 million officers. Internet censorship in China is unlike any other country in the world, as the country uses sophisticated technology to weed out controversial web content.

8. Foreign films

Hollywood movies are loved all over the world as the blockbusters have millions of followers in China. However, the Chinese government has limited the number of foreign films to be shown in cinemas in China, with the current maximum being 34 films per year. The selected films are also heavily censored with state censors removing any content deemed defamatory or offensive to the communist government.

9. E-books and videos

E-books and videos have not been spared by the Chinese government's cleanup of web-based content. DisneyLife, a video streaming service, was banned by government agencies in April 2017 with little explanation of the reasons behind the ban. DisneyLife was powered by China's e-commerce giant Alibaba and was only up and running for five months. The ban came a year after Chinese regulators banned the iBook Store, an Apple e-books service, in April 2016.

10. Casinos

Gambling was banned by the Chinese government in 1949, but the ban was not properly enforced when Chinese entrepreneurs started underground casinos. The underground gambling culture is more common in Macau, whose casino industry is larger than America's Las Vegas. In recent years, however, Beijing has launched an intense anti-corruption campaign aimed at eradicating the underground casinos in the country.

Criticism of China's strict guidelines

China has received widespread criticism and even condemnation, both domestically and abroad, for the government's control and censorship of the Internet. Critics see the censorship of digital media in the country as dictatorial and detrimental to economic growth. On the other hand, the ban on the major digital platforms created an opportunity for locally developed websites like QQ and Alibaba to thrive.

Author: Eloise Coleman

Eloise Coleman is a 26 year old journalist. Incurable coffee practitioner. Student. Reader. Researcher. Pop culture ninja. Communicator. Thinker.