I wonder if there are any other users who are annoyed like me by the Great Firewall set by the Chinese Government. If so would you please present me an effective way to get on YouTube? Since it's going to be China's flag-day or something, I tried almost all approaches from the internet like ultrasurf , hotspot shield proxy and some other web-based proxies, none worked to me.

What I want is just to be able to view and download a couple of videos, all tech and programming related. So if there's no way to get pass GFW, other work-arounds are still welcome. Thanks.

I'm asking for technical help. So please don't go any further to politics or anything, not interested and not productive.

I have tried the following to no avail:

  • tor + firefox
  • tor + opera
  • hotspot shield
  • Jap ( probably anony-service list banned )
  • ultra surf
  • http tunnel client ( not sure how to configure, tried an proxy but didn't help )
  • any other ordinary http proxies

Nothing worked for me up to now. I don't think this is "Mission: Impossible" and I don't want to wait till China's flag-day to be over, who knows, maybe they'll still be blocked.

Could some commercial solution be the final life-saver?

After a couple of days of following this question (and thanks to the folks who tried to help) it seems to me now this thread can't be loaded completely from my Firefox, the 'Connection reset' info starts to appear.

I picked the answer that actually is working for me. So maybe it's time to close this question because I will still want to access Stack Exchange in the future.

  • If you can get someone stateside to set up one end of a VPN you might be able to pull it off. – hyperslug Sep 29 '09 at 8:26
  • 2
    interesting question, and stated well – Jeff Atwood Sep 29 '09 at 9:25
  • 3
    Don't attack China's government in your answers; it really won't help readers of this question solve this technology issue. There's a level of oppression everywhere in the world, just some places more than others. – Nick Josevski Sep 29 '09 at 10:15
  • By the way: I assume well-known things such as hidemyass.com (and hence its YouTube proxy at hidemyass.com/youtube-proxy as well) have been blocked since ages, right? – Arjan Oct 4 '09 at 11:20
  • forget about NORMAL proxies. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:31

13 Answers 13


It seems that Freegate (alternative domain) was not mentioned yet? It claims to have released version 6.89 just before the celebrations started. I have never used the program.

[EDIT] The English download page only shows older versions. Deducting an URL from that older versions, only gives me the August 26th 6.88 as the most recent. The Chinese version of the download page seems to confirm that, so the original Chinese version of that website might be much more up to date (and seems to be some "secure and uncensored Internet portal" as well). The older version 6.80 can be found on many alternative places, like via CNET or Softpedia. According to a tweet, "Freegate 6.89 U tunnel beta 4" is available on 91files.com.

It might only be free when used from within China.

And merely for the archives (as it won't help at this very moment) apparently some project called Haystack is about to be released soon:

Haystack is a new program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran. A software package for Windows, Mac and Unix systems, called Haystack, specifically targets the Iranian government’s web filtering mechanisms.

Similar to Freegate, the program directed against China’s “great firewall,” once installed Haystack will provide completely uncensored access to the internet in Iran while simultaneously protecting the user’s identity. No more Facebook blocks, no more government warning pages when you try to load Twitter, just unfiltered Internet.

Which compares itself to Tor as follows:

Tor focuses on using onion routing to ensure that a user's communications cannot be traced back to him or her, and only focuses on evading filters as a secondary goal. Because Tor uses standard SSL protocols, it is relatively easily to detect and block, especially during periods when the authorities are willing to intercept all encrypted traffic.

On the other hand, Haystack focuses on being unblockable and innocuous while simultaneously protecting the privacy of our users. We do not employ onion routing, though our proxy system does provide a limited form of the same benefit.

  • Simple install and Worked. A bit slow but working that I can't complain. Thanks a lot. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:18
  • Ow wow, that 6.88 version then? – Arjan Oct 4 '09 at 11:21
  • It's 6.89u, didn't try 6.88. I got it from the "on 91files.com" link you gave me. Plus the interface is even in Chinese. Guess some Chinese guy is envolved. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:29
  • Again let's pray it still works tomorrow morning. G*F)W is getting so smart now. Even ssl stuff can get passed. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:30
  • fix : Even ssl stuff *can't get passed. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:30

I was going to suggest Tor but is seems that it is being cracked down on in China.

A very easy way to try Tor is OperaTor which is an installation of the Opera browser and Tor which just works with next to no effort at all.

  • However didn't work for me, stalled at "requesting localhost" after launching OperaTor and requested youtube.com, any further instructions? – Shawn Sep 29 '09 at 8:55
  • Thanks for the OperaTOR! and the information about Tor in China. – domen Sep 29 '09 at 9:00
  • As far as instructions go all I can think of is wait and then wait some more. OperaTor works but from what I remember it can be very slow. – Dave Webb Sep 29 '09 at 10:35
  • theregister.co.uk/2009/09/29/china_tor – littlegeek Sep 29 '09 at 10:41
  • @littlegeek : :-( The web page leads to torproject.org/bridges which I couldn't access due to obvious reasons. – Shawn Sep 29 '09 at 10:51

Have you looked at Hotspot Shield or HTTP-Tunnel Client?

Here is some text from the later:

HTTP-Tunnel acts as a socks server, allowing you to use your Internet applications safely despite restrictive firewalls and/or you not be monitored at work, school, goverment and gives you a extra layer of protection against hackers, spyware, ID theft's with our encryption.

Help and guides for HTTP-Tunnel Client are here.

  • Hotspot shield failed me. For HTTP tunnel client, does it have to work with a server and where do I deploy this server? Install it locally or somewhere remote ? – Shawn Sep 29 '09 at 8:56
  • You don't need a server - it's supplied by http-tunnel.com, which is why they also have paid high speed accounts. I've added the guides' location to my answer. – harrymc Sep 29 '09 at 9:31
  • (note) Hotspot shield may not work because blocked by the firewall. – harrymc Sep 29 '09 at 9:32
  • I used to work with HS, but long time ago( 1 yr or so ), that time it works, recently it's killed. On rare occasions it succeeds to get passed and gives you the youtube webpage, but videos just don't play. – Shawn Sep 29 '09 at 9:39

AN.ON - Anonymity.Online

as with most proxies, you'll have problems with youtube or othe video services. you may have to buffer, but accessing the site should be no problem at all.

  • Tried Jap out, unfortunately the anonymity list failed to be fetched, I guess it's still the GFW. Thanks anyway. – Shawn Sep 29 '09 at 8:42

In China, proxies do not really help. It does not totally disguise your identity. Data still has to be served to a chinese ip and that will most likely fail.

I suggest you migrate to the civilised world or get a SIM card from another country to open data connections over HSDPA / UMTS. In the bigger cities of China this worked for me.

  • Proxies do help when the Firewall does not know what is sent through them. (SSH tunnels and most VPN software use encryption.) – user1686 Sep 29 '09 at 13:17
  • I was at the olympics. I can tell you, in China, proxies did not helpe me even though I figured it would for al the reasons you just mentioned. – Pit Oct 1 '09 at 12:26
  • 1
    I don't think normal proxies can really help. Think about it, if somebody can find 'the' proxy, why can't GFW? Even it's for now, it WILL be on the kill list soon. Proxies can't be practical solution here. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:25
  • Indeed SHAWN. The Chinese firewall is a bit more comprehensive than Grawity might think. – Pit Oct 5 '09 at 9:50
  • You need to make your own proxy which China does not know about. Making your own proxy will work. – steampowered Nov 8 '11 at 12:56

The problem with such requests is that the information is available not only to you, but to the opposite side, that tries to restrict you. Anyway, I suggest you to try some vpn server in another country. I use witopia when I need to connect securely from a public place, it's reliable, feature-rich, but not free, so YMMV.


use a secured VPN connection to an outside server (rented or via friends/relatives).

here's a tutorial how to setup such a connection.


When I was working in China last year, I used a VPN and it worked perfectly. Some existing friends in China rent a VPN server for about £10 a month and it works for them...


use ultr0 surf with a random proxy (same for frei gate) in its options (recently ult0 surf does not work on it own in china)


Ask for some local help.

Are you in China now? Just stop by any Internet cafe, you'll find plenty of people that know what to do and will be happy to help you.

It's also a great way to meet some nice people, there are lots of people who want to practice their English and enjoy talking with foreigners.

  • Nice tip. Haven't come to that myself. btw I'm a native Chinese :-) – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 10:53

Foxy Proxy allows you to easily set up proxies on a site by site basis. The site also has notes on watching video from restricted countries. It's a firefox addon, so needs firefox to work.

There's a comprehensive discussion of foxyproxy and watching video from blocked countries in a recent episode of FLOSS. If I remember correctly, they say that, to be able to get good download speeds for youtube / video, you would probably have to pay for your proxy service. Again, the foxy proxy website has details of paid proxy servers.

  • No luck. Sorry. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:09

Did you try Treewalk Proxy Configurator? Youtube is not allowed in my country and I once installed Treewalk to get rid of the government rules.Then everything goes well for me.

  • Looks Treewalk Proxy Configurator is for DNS work arounds. G*F-W is more powerful than DNS stuff. – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:12

I'm currently using SSH Tunnel to get around the GFW.

You can subscribe this blog in Google Reader to get latest information: http://www.chinagfw.org/feeds/posts/default

Of course it's a Chinese blog.

  • of course I can't reach the page you said, you know for OBVIOUS reasons.) – Shawn Oct 4 '09 at 11:07

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