China’s Great Firewall and Discord: Does the App Work in China?

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Written by: Alex Popa


China’s Great Firewall and Discord: Does the App Work in China?

Nope, Discord doesn’t work in China. Surprised? I’m not… Discord is a grain of sand in the “desert” of apps and platforms that China has restricted in the country.

To “dissuade Western influence“, of course. Why else? Surely, not to maintain micro-managed control over the populace and remind them that they don’t live in a free democracy. Nah, it can’t be that.

In any case, you’re probably here for a way to use Discord while you’re in China, and the answer is VPNs. I’ll explain below how to use them, so keep reading for a detailed guide!

Why Is Discord Blocked in China?

Asking this is like asking “Why are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter blocked in China?“.

If you need a simple explanation, it’s because the Chinese government is a bit autocratic and dictatorial, and it believes it knows the best for its population without consulting them.

As for the deeper reason (this is all speculation, of course), it’s because China wants to maintain control over the population by micro-managing seemingly unimportant facets of freedom (like using YouTube).

The “official” reason is that Discord and the cohort of other apps are part of the “Western influence” that causes destabilization, chaos, and unpatriotic thoughts. Or something like that… Who knows these days.

Of course, whether that destabilization refers to Chinese people realizing the degree of freedom that Western people enjoy on a day-to-day basis and growing jealous, I don’t know.

Hey, I’m just connecting the dots, alright? We all know that China is very honest with its citizens, after all.

How Can I Access Discord in China?

With a VPN, of course. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN will change your IP address and give you access to anything on the internet.

You see, when you’re in China, you’re connecting to the internet with a Chinese IP address. And all Chinese IP addresses are restricted in many ways, one of them is to restrict you from accessing Discord.

But if you were to use an American IP address or a German one, Chinese internet providers couldn’t possibly restrict your internet access.

A VPN will do just that – change your IP address to another country so that local restrictions will have no effect on you.

And using a VPN is super simple. Here’s how:

  • Go to a VPN website (ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN, NordVPN, etc)
  • Create an account
  • Purchase a subscription (if necessary)
  • Download the VPN app
  • Open it
  • Connect to any server in any country (there’s a “Connect” button somewhere on the app)
  • Use Discord in China

Yep, it’s that simple. Using a VPN is just like using any other app on a computer. You just press a few buttons, and you’re anonymous!

Can I Get in Trouble for Using a VPN in China?

There’s a differentiation I have to make between simply USING a VPN and using it for a specific activity.

It’s not illegal to simply USE a VPN. This means you’re allowed to install one on your device and use it without getting into trouble.

However, this is utterly irrelevant. Here’s when things become a bit more complicated…

What are you going to use the VPN for? Accessing pornography (which is illegal in China) or using one of the many restricted apps (like Discord)?

Then yes, you may get in trouble if the authorities find out. Because both pornography and Discord are illegal in China.

Using a VPN to access them is seen as dodging the law (which is obviously illegal).

So, technically, you won’t get in trouble for using a VPN but realistically, yeah, you could. Because there’s no conceivable use of a VPN in China that’s not illegal.

Think about it – if you feel the need to use a VPN in China, it’s because you’re not NORMALLY allowed to access something.

The thing you want to access is illegal. And you want to use a VPN to access that illegal thing. And that’s illegal in itself 😀

How Dangerous Is It?

Honestly, it depends entirely on what you’re doing while using a VPN. Fine, you’re using Discord but to what end?

Are you using Discord to just talk to your friends online or are you showing a Chinese local an anti-China Discord server?

Because the two situations are as different as apples and oranges. Sure, both are illegal but one has much more severe implications.

Let me spell it out for you – if you’re a tourist coming to China and you’re using a VPN to talk to your friends on Discord, you’re fine. No one’s going to say anything (honest assumption…)

But if you’re actively looking for trouble and being nosey, then you might get in trouble when using Discord, indeed.

Use common sense, as well. Try not to let anyone else see you using Discord, just to be safe. You never know how the Chinese authorities will react to seemingly harmless things (like using Discord, a neutral communication app).

You can’t really rely on the common sense of Chinese authorities to leave you alone for such a harmless thing as using Discord with a VPN.

That’s all there is to it. If you have any questions or you’re still confused about the relationship between Discord and China, let me know below!

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Alex Popa

My name is Alex and I have a knack for social media in all its shapes and forms. I’ve dealt with such things for quite some time and I noticed that many people have issues with social media and technicalities.

Unforeseen errors, bugs, and other problems make their use of social media problematic. These things will be discussed amply in the guides on Whizcase.

I'll present the facts as they are, and offer quick and easy solutions for them.

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