VPN for Hong Kong
I’ve been using VPNs for quite some time now. As you know, I’m on a mission, a quest to find the best VPN service there is.
In my travails around the realms of cyberspace, I’ve tested a fair number of VPNs.
For me, a VPN has always been more than a mere technological novelty. Rather, it’s a symbol of hope.
A symbol that even though the internet is being slowly and surely policed by Big Brother, there is still a way to achieve freedom from the continued oppression and anxiety.
Using a VPN, anyone can bypass the many walls that have been put around the web and get the freedom of movement in cyberspace that we truly deserve.
Today, I find that I’m not alone in this feeling. People around the world are adopting VPNs as a means of trying to overcome government oppression.
How The VPN Has Become A Symbol Of The Resistance In Hong Kong
Take the recent protests in Hong Kong, for example.
The people of this business hub have taken to the streets in an agitation against the Chinese government.
This protest is a result of the latest bid by the Chinese authorities to amend their national security laws.
These amendments may, in effect, result in increased censorship around the internet in Hong Kong.
Since last Thursday, the 21st of May 2020 (when the changes were first announced), VPN service providers across the commercial capital have seen a major spike in downloads.
According to most VPN providers, this trend is a direct response to circumvent Chinese censorship.
But what is this censorship that the people of Hong Kong are up in arms against?
And why has the VPN become such an essential icon of this revolution?
You and I are going to explore all this together, and more, in the following.
So stick around. You’re in for a revolutionary ride.
The Draft Law Proposed By China
First, I decided to find the cause of this sudden outburst in Hong Kong.
I took some time to explore the situation and found that this outburst, which has come to the limelight, is actually not sudden at all.
The Hong Kong protests have been going on for quite a long time since China proposed the Hong Kong extradition bill. Citizens of Hong Kong are of the view that this bill is essentially an encroachment upon the autonomy of the city.
Also, another reason for the protests is the widespread demand for democratic reforms, which the region has been demanding for quite some time now.
However, the situation took a peak last week when China made the announcement that it was preparing to propose a draft law, which would criminalize any acts that the government thought was subversive or seditious.
In short, the Chinese are ready to put a noose around anyone trying to raise a voice against its policies.
This proposed legislation has created an ecosystem of fear around the city. Citizens have taken to the streets in active protest.
Their major concern regarding the proposed changes has been the fact that these regulations might, in fact, result in increased online censorship.
The kind which is only too familiar with the people inside mainland China.
The Great Firewall
China is well known (rather is notorious for, I should say) the various roadblocks that it has put around the internet.
This is largely an effect of the Chinese communist party’s tradition of trying to repress any protesters from rearing their heads.
I have a few friends inside the Chinese borders, and they’ve been able to give me a first-hand account of what it’s like to live life behind the Great Firewall that China has built around itself in cyberspace.
Let me tell you about a few instances of the kind of curtains that China has drawn around its internet usage.
Now, we all know and love and hate Google, right?
Well, you don’t get that in China.
It sounds strange, doesn’t it?
Actually, it isn’t.
Across China, citizens are compelled to use the national search engine, Baidu, which is known to be one of the biggest filters of the internet that have ever been created.
Baidu blocks any news and online resources that may have a detrimental effect on national integrity.
What’s more, it’s even a way to weed out the dissenters by keeping track of their search terms.
Now, let’s come to social media. Facebook, which is the darling of social media aficionados across the globe, doesn’t work in China.
What’s more, you can’t even use WhatsApp, that messaging app none of us can do without.
In China, you have to use WeChat, which is the major alternative to WhatsApp. China has even created a microblogging alternative to Twitter, called Weibo.
Now, all these alternatives have but one goal, to prevent Chinese Nationals from speeding dissent against the government.
But what’s the situation in Hong Kong?
Let’s take a look at that now.
The Situation In Hong Kong
Hong Kong, which operates as a special administrative region under the Chinese government, doesn’t have any of these restrictions.
In fact, the relationship of the Chinese mainland with the territory of Hong Kong follows the principle of one country, two systems.
This effectively translates to the fact that Hong Kong citizens aren’t subject to the strict internet restrictions that the Chinese have to face.
People in Hong Kong are free to use the web without restrictions and have access to all the global Internet-based resources that we have access to.
In fact, it’s this freedom of information that has enabled the region to become a global business hub.
However, with the Chinese government looking to amend its laws and tighten the security ring, Hong Kong citizens are naturally afraid that the authorities may take advantage of the pandemic situation and pull in the region behind its great digital wall.
If that happens, then not only will any dissenters be severely dealt with, it will also increase government oversight across the region’s internet activities.
This, in effect, might have direct as well as indirect repercussions on the economy.
Major international businesses may decide to leave the city, and thousands may face joblessness.
There’s also the looming danger of party censorship. Citizens are afraid that once the new legislations are passed Chinese will use the internet to set up a major surveillance system against those it considers as troublemakers.
It’s due to all these reasons that Hong Kong is up in arms about the law change.
But what does this mean for the VPNs operating there?
Let’s take a look.
A Massive Surge of VPN Downloads
Ever since the announcement of the legislative changes since last week, people in Hong Kong have flocked to VPN providers for getting new subscriptions.
While citizens in the Chinese mainland have long used VPNs to circumvent the government’s restrictions, people in Hong Kong are now looking at a similar future.
NordVPN reported that last Thursday the app has seen a download increase of about 120 times as compared to the day before.
Surfshark too has seen a similar increase, with sales rising to a massive 700% across the city.
Another provider ProtonVPN reported a 1000% increase in the number of people searching for its services within two days of the announcement being made public.
All this clearly points to one thing and one thing alone: that the people of Hong Kong are genuinely concerned about their online privacy and freedom.
And that they’re ready to take steps to protect the same.
While the sudden spike in VPN connections did have me interested, I can’t really say that I’m all too surprised.
In fact, even the US saw a considerable rush for VPNs when the net neutrality laws were repealed.
The same happened in the UK when The Snoopers Charter was passed.
After all, why shouldn’t it?
VPNs are the only method by which anyone can bypass the cyber-hurdles that have been placed around the internet.
Using VPNs, users in Hong Kong, and around the world, can effectively encrypt their internet usage, protect their privacy, and connect to servers across the world.
VPNs can allow Hong Kong citizens to get past geo-blocks and maintain fetterless links with the rest of the world.
Having said that, there’s actually a deeper connotation that underlies the demand for VPNs.
VPNs are no longer just a way to access Netflix libraries that don’t work in your country.
Instead, they are a medium that allows us to protect our fundamental rights of privacy, democracy, and freedom of speech.
Just like the rest of the world, citizens in Hong Kong are merely agitating for their basic rights.
And they’ve leaned on technology to provide a way out.
By using VPNs on a massive scale, the people of this business hub are looking for a way to preserve their integrity of thought and expression.
Needless to say, VPN service providers have already amped up their services in the region.
Servers are being added on a war footing, and connectivity problems are being overcome rapidly. I am hopeful that even if the law is enacted, technology will find a way to the solution.
Best VPNs for Hong Kong
After assessing the situation in-depth, I next decided to do some research into the best VPN providers in Hong Kong.
I compared the lot based on factors such as speed, ease of access, language barrier, and privacy features.
As opposed to my review process, the selections are dedicated to Hong Kong with the basis of their usage, culture, and the importance of privacy for them.
After much deliberation, I narrowed down my search to the following three VPN providers, which is also the top 3 from 10 of my selected best VPN review.
Score 92 / 100
The first pick of the lot is ExpressVPN, which I’ve assessed to be the best VPN provider when it comes to privacy.
Using ExpressVPN, users can access all streaming sites effortlessly. Also, the service provides ample speed for users across the city.
With over 3000 servers based across 94 countries, most of all, they owned all the servers by themselves.
Using this service, one can connect up to five devices per connection. It’s available for desktop, Android as well as iOS, and comes with all advanced features such as a kill switch.
Too bad that they do not have a Chinese version. You might face difficulties in navigating and understanding.
Score 85 / 100
If security is the prime factor in your mind, then NordVPN can serve you the best in the city.
Its speed in Hong Kong does leave something to be desired, but torrenting is a great experience with this service provider.
NordVPN boasts of over 5000 servers spread over 62 countries. This means Hong Kong will be able to access anything across the web that it desires.
Available across all major devices and platforms, NordVPN is a more affordable alternative that also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
They have traditional or simplified Chinese as the language option.
Score 90 / 100
Finally, if you’re a newbie to the VPN scene in Hong Kong I suggest you go for Surfshark.
The best option for those just starting out in the VPN realm, Surfshark provides enough features to get around common internet roadblocks.
Similar to the abovementioned services, Surfshark too is available across PCs as well as mobile.
It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and has over 1040 servers spread across 61 countries.
With servers located in Hong Kong itself, you can be sure that speed is not going to be a problem.
Unfortunately, they only have simplified Chinese instead of the traditional Chinese as what Hong Kongers are familiar with.
The Chinese government is expected to pass the controversial law during the country’s annual meeting, to be held between the 22nd to the 28th of May this year.
Naturally, tensions are rife among the people of Hong Kong.
Updated: The HK version of National Security Law had passed the Chinese Parliament with 2878 voted for the proposal and only one delegate voted against it on 28th May 2020.
People are already resorting to violent protests against reported police atrocities.
Tear-gas shells have been fired, water cannons have been used, and many protesters have been arrested.
People are afraid that the government might come down upon them with an iron fist after the law is passed.
Do you know what is your Hong Kong IP? Find out here with my free tool.
Cyberspace too might not be free of these oppressions.
However, as long as there are VPNs there is hope, and I believe the citizens of Hong Kong will surely find a way around this new predicament.
After all, that’s the promise of technology: to allow us all to live free, speak freely, and express our opinions without fear of repression.
With VPN technology, the city of Hong Kong might just be able to break free of the dragon’s coils and emerge stronger.