Blocked by GFW in China: Sooner or Later?

by phobos | June 21, 2008

We didn't expect Tor wouldn't be blocked in China for a long time before it became true days ago.  We've got a lot of users' reports on that from different regions in China about was blocked by Great Firewall system in China.  
McFred's Blog said: is the official Tor(The Onion Router) web site, found recently been blocked by China's national firewall, also known as Great Firewall.
Trace route from Beijing, China shows the destination is unreachable, seems they changed the route table on the router at IP, refuse connection to Tor web site.

Jacky talked on his Chinese blog:

Just there's an online survey on Tor usage in China, I found Tor official site has been "harmonized" when I was curious about how it said about any news...

Fons said on his "China Herald" blog:

Over the past year most 'blocks' of foreign websites had disappeared and made way for more sophisticated filtering techniques. Blocking well-known proxies seems to mean the relative tightening of the censorship at a time when China had promised more openness at the internet for its foreign guests.

Zola(or Zuola), a famous Chinese activist blogger, could be the first one found our site blocked and published the news on twitter. He also help build a mirror site soon after that(We would love to publish any other Tor mirrors in China via your comments).  Thanks Zola and all volunteers supporting Tor.  Please kindly keep taking our survey on Tor usage in China.
Though Tor project official site is not as same to Tor network, this harsh action will definitely affect the future awareness of Tor as a tool to support Free Access.  It means China government is paying more attention on the technological solutions rather than merely sensitive content they care before.  The sad thing is that once a web site was put into blacklist, it's very hard to get it back.  Once again, it means how important Tor's mission is.


Please note that the comment area below has been archived.

June 30, 2008


It looks like they are catching the string "", and sending RSTs
to both sides when they see it. So any page that includes that string will be
hard to read from China.

Note that if you use https connections, that string won't pass over the GFW.
So those connections should continue working fine.

July 08, 2008

In reply to by Roger Dingledine (not verified)



Besides, the IP address of the main Tor website is blocked, and this IP blocking precedes keyword blocking. So, if I visit, or any other website on this IP address, no matter via HTTP or HTTPS, I don't get RSTs, but always time-out.

July 13, 2008


Tor sites are still VERY accessible through the mirrors.

If anyone needs one or the software hit me up at my email address and I will download the version of the software you need and send it to you.

November 16, 2009

In reply to by link (not verified)


I have the Tor software, But of course it now doesn't work. How do I go about using a mirror.
Thanks very much for your help.

January 04, 2010

In reply to by Marek (not verified)


Is mirror similar to setting up a bridge?
if so, all you need to do to be assigned
one is to send a blank email with "get bridges"
in the title of the email to ""

a few seconds later you will get an email with 3 bridge numbers.

It is advised you do this every so often as bridges are constantly changing.

hope this was what you were looking for.

August 02, 2008


More commie shenanigans: this morning, Rising Antivirus claimed that Privoxy.exe (as installed in the Vidalia bundle) was a virus Trojan.PSW.Win32.Undef.adp , and promptly deleted it (Rising == 瑞星 , a Chinese antivirus software for WIndows).

I got Tor working again by switching to FoxyProxy instead of TorButton. But I just thought I'd let you guys know about it. I'm also making the assumption that Privoxy isn't really a virus, but that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

August 10, 2008

In reply to phobos


So many people using Loband too, mostly journos I guess, that they blocked it. Jeesh is THAT going to look good when they file after the games? But I did get in here through TOR tonight.

October 17, 2008


Typical stupid China. You'll find that the first ones to criticize you trying to open the internet up to them will be the everyday citizens themselves. F*ck em, if they don't want the internet don't give it to them, let them have another cultural revolution and waste another 10 years, go to hell you stupid fascists.

Hey man, please make the target clear.What's really stupid and need to be fucked is the chinese government, not the various majority. The grovernment DO NOT represent any majority in china.

October 18, 2008


I use an RF "Broadband" connection, usually above 380K both ways with a burst three times higher. It barely suffices for broadband, mostly because of a bit of latency. The question is, can I help at all as a relay?

October 18, 2008

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)


Build one anyway, I figure everyone can help if even just a little. The more the merrier.

February 21, 2009


For those who couldn't figure out how to use the google cache to look for tor mirrors,
these are a few of the mirrors for the Tor Website..
and these are a few mirrors for downloading the Tor software :

April 13, 2009


So many people using Loband too, mostly journos I guess, that they blocked it. Jeesh is THAT going to look good when they file after the games ? But I did get in here through TOR tonight.

September 24, 2009


25 Sep 2009
I'm in China "tor-blocked." (Been using Tor here for over a year).
Now, can't access Tor or Vidalia or Privoxy forums, so I'm hoping someone here can help.

Using vidalia-bundle-
Firefox 3.5.3 w/NoScript Add-on and TorButton

Vidalia panel settings: 127.0.1 9051
(If I try to set to 9050 it says Tor or something is using it).

1. Question: Is Vidalia supposed to be 9050, the same as Tor? (I could sure use some help with some published default settings so I can try some custom ones).

Privoxy doesn't show what proxy/port it is using.

TorButton Prefs show in custom settings (but I'm using Privoxy which doesn't indicate what proxy address/port it's using:
HTTP and SSL: Port 8118
Socks Host: Port 9050

2. Question: Tor configuration and data directory files have .directory addresses. Didn't notice this before. Is this correct? (/Users/me/.vidalia/torrc) and (/Users/me/.tor). Is there a default settings file I can use or do I have to track down invisible files to delete them?

- Torstatus in Vidalia shows connections as Path Empty/New and then they switch (quickly) to Path Empty/Failed. Some relay names show up as Open or Building.

3. Question: Help doesn't explain what it is supposed to look like when it is working. If I see an Open user (connection) is that the one I'm supposedly using? If I see this "user" as Open, can I assume my problem is in my Browser (Firefox/Torbutton)?

- Tor test in TorButton fails (even after I completely uninstall Privoxy/Vidalia/Tor and all user preferences.
"[Javascript Application] Tor proxy test: Internal error"

4. Question: Anyone have a real answer for that one?

Any help appreciated.
Please reply here or via this site admin who has my email address.

Thanks. You folks are really peachy...

i am also in china and new for Tor too.
i will answer the best i can.

1) port 9050 is used to listen as proxy server for internet application(ex. Firefox)
port 9051 is for control Vidalia from distance, so you can config Tor from remote IP.

2) i use window.

3) After Tor connected to Tor Network and you set FireFox's proxy to
you will surf internet via Tor Network.
(TorButton can help you set FireFox's proxy to when you turn it on)

4) don't know too.

Thanks for the help, Hoo. ;o)

I guess what I'm wondering next is:

Can I use a different ports than 8118 and 9050? I was wondering if I can piggy-back on 8080 and others used for chat services (ports I know are not blocked). Apparently the Tor version I am using on Mac does not allow bridges, so i'm kind of hooped there. (Sorry, I just had to use hoo and hooped. It's in my nature to joke around). ;o)

In Tor Bundle, there is privoxy program.
as i understand, privoxy is middle between FF and Tor
so you should set FF proxy to 8118 if you want to use privoxy.

Privoxy will help you to erase some HTTP header which Tor don't do it for you
so it will more secure if you use privoxy.
(for me,i don't care so much for secure so i use 9050 directly)
you just make me notice, there is no config page in Vidalia to Tor port for else than 9050.
so i don't know too.

September 25, 2009


Tor blocked in China as of 26th September 2009.
It simply will not connect on two different computers.
I only want Youtube and Facebook!

September 25, 2009


Tor blocked in China from 25th September 2009.
I think the GFW blocked the tor directory server, because if you don't set a proxy in torrc, the tor status always like this:
Bootstrapped 5%: Connecting to directory server.
and then follow some warnings.

click above URL -- tor settings -- network -- check "my ISP blocks connection to Tor network" -- copy and paste bridges: you got from the above site (see sample blow) one by one and click add --- after add all, click ok.

123.45..678:9090 (sample - not an actual bridge)

Any directions on how to set a proxy in torrc would be beneficial. ;o)

Thanks... I have lots of time to work on workarounds.

(I really only want facebook so my wife can play her FarmLife game and get off my case... I don't need YouTube or most others, though I would like to continue my winning streak on picking Premier League Games on the facebook app). ;o)

September 26, 2009


Here in South China Tor is still blocked (27th Sept. 2009)

Sep 27 07:13:48.887 [Warning] Problem bootstrapping. Stuck at 5%: Connecting to directory server. (Operation timed out; TIMEOUT; count 11; recommendation warn)

I'm on a Mac and the Vidalia version says it does not support Bridges.

Vidalia ver. 0.0.16
Tor ver.
QT ver. 4.3.2

I tried the email (hotmail) on your link anyway... wasn't going to set up a gmail (fail) or yahoo (fail) account just to get facebook... ;o)

September 30, 2009


I'm new to Xiamen on the coastal of china and I started using Vidalia Tor. I thought it ws pretty good until exactly on the 27th Sept, it stopped working. I then got a Mac so now i'm wondering .. does it work from mac? because my Tor is connected.. I just don't know how to connect it to firefox:S help?

October 01, 2009

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)


Tor open proxy server port on your machine
so let set proxy to port 9050

I also recommend you to use FoxyProxy and
tell it use proxy only on blocked website
(ex. ** and **)

so FF will fast and directly download from normal website(ex. hotmail)
and browse slow via Tor for blocked website.
this will help Tor network to lower traffic too.

October 07, 2009



I'm in Beijing, and was using hotspot shield until it got blocked for the 60th Anniversary.

Now I'm trying TOR, but i'm having problems.

I managed to get connected to the TOR network using Vidalia and bridges (The TOR onion is green).

I also downloaded torbutton for FireFox, and enabled the torbutton, which added some proxy settings - for HTTP proxy, and for Socks.

However, i'm still unable to browse the the restricted websites. In fact, i'm not able to browse anything after enabling torbutton.

Can anyone please help me?


February 01, 2010


The upgrade of Tor (Vidalia bundle) is causing me problems. I do not like or want Polipo, I prefer Privoxy but I'm not given the choice? Why?

For instance, the notice that my version is obsolete lists a number of versions as being safe, not just the latest...but, I cannot find them for downloading. Why?

It seems to me that the same rules will have to be followed (by me) with regard to Tor as I follow with other security progs - stay with the older ones because who knows what governments or the money of Google etc have convinced the programmers to add into the newest versions.

February 28, 2010


Tor IS working in China, but you need to find a good HTTP proxy first to bootstrap. Not all proxies will do the trick (I dunno why, maybe high anonymous proxies only). I tried many proxies for hours until found one from France allowing me to bootstrap for the first time, and next times tor seems getting info from it's cache and starts normally without a proxy.

May 21, 2010


I downloaded Tor in order to use it to access facebook in my school
I am a teacher and there is a firewall in our school so ı can not get anywhere
do you think Tor can solve this? and how?

June 05, 2010


l downloaded tor in order 4 me 2 access Facebook network connection wit, cos my yahoo messenger is not working so that l can talk 2 people on order id, do u think Tor can solve this problem?

July 26, 2010


Sorry that I cannot help censored users with a bridge. I'm on a Mac w/ Airport and a wireless mesh ISP, no router to manually configure. I am willing to learn if anyone knows how to help me help others.

Well, not totally. Just most of the bridges are blocked because the Chinese Government, we suspect, is actively hunting for Tor bridges. We're working on a better bridge distribution scheme and want to get it right before releasing it.