I am trying to download Tor within China to use as VPN. However, I cannot access the Tor download page using the mainstream internet inside of China. I am blocked by the Great Firewall, and recent crackdowns on the internet.

  1. Are there any mirror websites I could use?

  2. What should I do to get Tor in China? Surely other people have encountered this situation.

  3. If the best way around this issue is to first use a VPN to access Tor, which VPN could I use? So many have recently been shut down in China. CyberGhost, SurfEasy, etc. are all blocked by Papa Xi.

  4. Even with the bridges, I have been told Tor does not work in China at all unless you use a VPN first. Is this true? Is the Chinese government using deep packet inspection to completely block Tor traffic entirely?

  • Maybe I could use a proxy server instead of a VPN? At least to download the software.... Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 7:57

2 Answers 2


As per the Tor FAQ:

Some government or corporate firewalls censor connections to Tor's website. In those cases, you have three options. First, get it from a friend — Tor Browser fits nicely on a USB key. Second, find the google cache for the Tor mirrors page and see if any of those copies of our website work for you. Third, you can download Tor Browser via email: log in to your email account and send an email to '[email protected]' with one of the following words in the body of the message: windows, osx or linux (case insensitive). You will receive a reply with links from popular cloud services to download Tor Browser for Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, depending on the option you chose. Currently, the only cloud service supported is Dropbox. If you send a blank message or anything different from the options mentioned, you will receive a help message with detailed instructions to ask for Tor Browser via email. Please note that you can use this service from any email address: gmail, yahoo, hotmail, riseup, etc. The only restriction is that you can do a maximum of three requests in a row, after that you'll have to wait 20 minutes to use it again. See the GetTor section for more information.

Be sure to verify the signature of any package you download, especially when you get it from somewhere other than our official HTTPS website.


I spent a month in China earlier this year. (It was for pleasure, not business.) It was an interesting (read: frustrating) experience from the perspective of access to the internet.

I didn't actually use Tor while I was there, so my answer doesn't include any details about bridges, pluggable transports, or other proposed methods for getting around the Firewall. I'll let other members of the group flesh things out.

In response to your questions:

  1. Probably. But if they were publicly advertised then the Chinese authorities would also know about them. Even if you thought you had found a safe mirror, and could access it either directly or via a VPN, you would have to be very careful about guaranteeing its authenticity and ownership.
  2. Another option would be to have a friendly party get it to you somehow. (Via email over a VPN... ?) Again, the catch is that you'd need to ensure authenticity of the binaries - by checking a signature/hash/etc. - in case your mail/VPN/friend is compromised.
  3. During my short time there, I think I managed to get through 3 different VPNs, with each becoming inoperative after a certain amount of time. I didn't use any of the paid services I know exist. (I refuse to pay for a compromised VPN service presumably owned by the authorities!) My technique for finding a new, working VPN each time was to ask someone. I was lucky enough to be staying in areas where there were either other travellers, or students. Asking someone over a beer seemed to be a lot less hassle than scouring forums full of out-of-date information. However, with all of this, I had no idea who controlled or owned the VPNs, so my browsing habits were strictly limited to things like checking email, Facebook, news at home, etc. (i.e. Reintroducing the convenience at the potential cost of being watched.)
  4. With regards to how China is blocking things, have a read of this post on the Tor Blog: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/closer-look-great-firewall-china

Again, I'll let other users comment (speculate?) on how best to circumvent the blocks.


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