03:14 GMT +321 February 2019
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    US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping leave after an opera performance at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017.

    Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: China’s Great Firewall Can’t Keep Trump from Twitter

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    US President Donald Trump arrived in China last night as part of his Asia trip and many are wondering how the president has managed to keep tweeting while within the communist nation’s censorship apparatus.

    Internet in China is controlled through a censorship system known as the Great Firewall that blocks social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and eBay, though within China there are domestic analogues to each program. 

    According to an unnamed senior White House official, Trump's team packed "special equipment" with them to allow the president to access his social media accounts despite the country's internet blocks.

    "The president will Tweet whatever he wants. That's his way of communicating directly with the American people. Why not?" the White House official said.

    Although it is unclear what "special equipment" is being used to get around China's firewall, many web users know that downloading virtual private network (VPN) software allows people to access the internet as if they were on a server in another country.

    Others speculate that the president is using complex satellite links and government-issued phones to access Twitter and to prevent anyone from hacking into his accounts.

    Websites like Great Fire monitor Chinese censorship of other websites and help Chinese internet users get around blockages.

    Great Fire co-founder Charlie Smith told the Press Association he hopes Trump will continue to tweet while in China.

    "I know that there are a lot of more important issues to be discussed on this trip to China, but if the president asked for my advice, this is what I would tell him," he said.

    Tongue firmly in cheek, Smith said, "Mr. Trump, I advise you to tweet." He continued, though, noting, "Chinese who circumvent and use Twitter will love it — they will retweet and share and show friends and family who may not be using circumvention tools."

    Trump tweeting from within the Great Firewall will "help to raise awareness of censorship and circumvention," Smith said — and help the US president raise his profile in the world's most populous nation."


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