The Chinese government is known for its strict censorship and content restriction, especially when it comes to Western media and messaging services. In the second category, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services are included, although not every one of them is blocked.
Unfortunately, WhatsApp, which is one of the biggest and most influential apps for exchanging messages and other multimedia files in the world, is one of the victims. China, through its infamous “Great Firewall,” has blocked several sites and services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wikipedia, nearly all Google products, and many more.
WhatsApp can also be classified as a VoIP service, given that it allows users to make and receive voice and video calls. However, the Chinese authorities don’t want their citizens to be in contact with these products and tools, prompting people to use local ones instead. They, in addition, don’t want people to be in contact with news from the Western civilization that may leave them in a bad political position.
Anyway, to unblock WhatsApp calling and other forms of foreign media in China, you will need to disguise your Chinese IP and obtain one from another country in which the service isn’t blocked. There are several ways to achieve that, but the best and most efficient is using a VPN.
Does WhatsApp work in China?
The app worked on and off for years until 2017. However, now it is restricted and, if you can get it to work, messages arrive late and the user experience is not so good, because the government’s censorship implements an algorithm to interfere with the communication.
However, people need to communicate while being in the country, so it is only natural that they want to unblock WhatsApp calling and media outlets.
If you don’t want to unblock WhatsApp, here are some of the messaging apps that you may use instead:
WhatsApp alternatives in China
WhatsApp is, undoubtedly, the world’s biggest messaging and VoIP app. You can send instant messages (with encryption,) voice notes, videos, photos, stickers, emojis, stories (a la Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook,) make and receive voice and video calls.
However, Chinese authorities banned its use in the country, so if you don’t want to use a VPN, here are the best alternatives to WhatsApp:
WeChat is extremely popular in Chinese soil. Its attractive design helps it attract new users, and the features make them stay: the Look Around and Shake features to alert potential friends, text messaging, location sharing, the opportunity to send pictures and videos, broadcast messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, video conferencing, and even video games, not to mention the “Moments” offering.
People can also provide payments in the WeChat app to their contacts and enjoy a heat map to avoid heavy traffic, which is a common scenario in some of the biggest Chinese cities.
Telegram and WhatsApp are very similar, yet entirely different. Telegram’s app uses cloud-based technology to perform VoIP and instant messaging services, the interface is slick and attractive, and the groups can be very big. Users can also synchronize their chats across all of their devices.
Skype is, by design, a VoIP service made for voice and video calls. However, users can also send and receive messages. It is stable and reliable, and people can send larger files. It is now merged with Hotmail contacts and accounts.
LINE is also one of China’s favorite messaging apps and VoIP services. Group calls can be a hoot if you have a good connection, with up to 200 people taking part in a call! It is perfect for travelers and businessmen.
Other messaging and VoIP apps that work in China are:
- Kik Messenger
WhatsApp, VPNs, and overcoming censorship
If by now you are too familiarized with WhatsApp and its features to consider dropping it for an alternative, we have good news for you: by using a location spoofing service, such as a VPN, you can use the app in China and circumvent the restrictions.
VPN means Virtual Private Network. It is a useful online resource offered by cybersecurity brands over the Internet and has the ability to hide your IP address and shared traffic and encrypting all the information to send it over servers owned by the company itself, avoiding those of the Internet Service Provider.
By encrypting and rerouting the information, the users will dodge geo-blocking, censorship, surveillance, copyright trolls, hackers, malware developers, and other agents/situations because it will browse the web anonymously. Very few elements will be able to detect any activity since the person will have changed its IP number thanks to the VPN action.
Chinese authorities implement the censorship and WhatsApp blocking by recognizing the user’s IP number as a local one. However, if you spoof your location to another country in which the use of the app is allowed, the Great Firewall will not have the power to stop you from making voice and video calls with WhatsApp!
Very few VPN apps work in China, given the nation’s effectiveness at detecting and blocking proxies and spoofing resources. However, TorGuard has managed to survive the ban thanks to its top encryption (AES 256-bit,) OpenVPN protocol (and several more!) and strict no-logging policy. The American brand fiercely protects users’ content to avoid any leaks.
TorGuard costs $10 per month, and you get access to 3,000 servers in 55 nations, multiplatform compatibility, a fantastic knowledgebase, additional proxy and email services, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and a live chat window. If you want to see why its ranked #1, check out the VPN tier list!
How to unblock WhatsApp calling in China
- Go to your preferred VPN brand (make sure it works in China!) website and register for the VPN service
- Proceed with the payment
- Get your login credentials
- Download and install the app on your device
- Launch the VPN app
- Log in with your credentials
- Connect to a server from a country in which the use of WhatsApp calling is allowed
- You will now be able to unblock WhatsApp calling in China, as well as all the foreign media you want to enjoy
In conclusion, to unblock WhatsApp calling and other media networks in China – which is a country with very strict censorship measures – you will need to hide your Chinese IP address and obtain one from a foreign area. Use a VPN to achieve that goal.