NBA vs China

In the Aftermath of the NBA-China Debacle: How to Watch NBA in China

Last updated on October 20, 2020

NBA VS. China

It was a one-line tweet on Twitter, but now the whole world is watching as the NBA vs. China battle gains momentum.

General manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, is no doubt regretting the moment he posted his tweet, “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” 

 NBA league commissioner, Adam Silver, ruffled even more feathers when he defended Morey, saying “The long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and in this case, Daryl Morey … enjoys that right”.

Now, Chinese authorities are threatening a complete NBA blackout, saying, “We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech”.

Where there’s a will there’s a way, however, and a reputable VPN can bypass any prohibitions and give you access to the NBA in China regardless of the authorities’ next move.

What Does the NBA Blackout Mean for Chinese Viewers?

The first phase of the fallout from Morey’s tweet is already being felt in China as the two teams currently playing preseason matches over there are facing widespread hostility.

Not only was the clash between the LA Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai, neither broadcast on China’s CCTV nor on the country’s popular streaming site, Tencent, but fan engagement events are also being canceled daily and players’ media interaction has been banned altogether.

The NBA is also facing some severe criticism about its Chinese affiliations and has been accused of allowing itself to be “bullied by an authoritarian government”.

Houston Rockets star player, James Harden, was seen to be trying to calm the storm, announcing, “You know, we love China… We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us”. Harden has since stated that he wants no further involvement in the dispute and will be rather focusing on the Rockets’ early-season performance.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets face some serious financial fallout as a result of Morey’s comments, with some saying that “China’s punitive response could cost the Rockets around $25 million in sponsorship losses this season”. In the NBA vs China conflict, it looks like China currently has the upper hand.

Are VPNs Legal in China?

The law surrounding the use of Virtual Private Networks in China is difficult to navigate, and many people wrongly believe that all VPNs are banned in China. While the actual technology behind this cybersecurity tool is perfectly legal, some foreign services are not.

Since the beginning of 2019, anyone caught using an unauthorized VPN service in China faces a steep fine of $145. Although restrictions on internet access and VPN usage have been around since 1997, it’s only recently that threats to ban VPNs have started to become a reality.

According to Freedom House, however, even these heavy restrictions and hefty fines are doing little to curb Chinese enthusiasm for VPNs. “Tens of millions of people used circumvention tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) to reach the uncensored global internet or accessed blocked overseas broadcasts…”.

While getting a VPN in China itself can be challenging, with many VPN providers’ websites banned, if you install one before entering the country, using it is relatively straightforward. While some VPNs provide obfuscated servers specifically to deal with heavy restrictions like the Great Firewall of China, others rely on their regular VPN service to do the job.

VPNs like ExpressVPN consistently maintain access from China while others, like most free VPNs, struggle to even peek over the Firewall, let alone navigate a way around it. That means choosing one of the best VPNs for China is vital if you’re hoping to circumnavigate the restrictions introduced as a result of the NBA vs China dispute and stream the NBA playoffs.

3 Best VPNs for NBA in China

#1 ExpressVPN

Whatever defensive strategy you prefer on the basketball court, you’ll be hard-pressed to find fault with ExpressVPN’s. A combination of zero-knowledge technology, cutting-edge encryption, and a strict no-logging policy makes ExpressVPN a secure and effective cybersecurity tool.

With nearly a decade of experience, ExpressVPN has proved itself capable of circumnavigating online restrictions and accessing blocked content, even in heavily censored regions. Having said that, if you’re looking for a VPN that can give you a Chinese IP address, ExpressVPN isn’t it as it doesn’t have any servers in China itself.

ExpressVPN provides high-speed connections all over the world, using an extensive network of servers that incorporates 94 different countries.

Secure your online life and your access to the NBA in China by signing up with ExpressVPN here. Alternatively, find out why it’s so highly recommended by checking out our full review.

#2 NordVPN

Although ExpressVPN has an impressive international network of servers, it looks small next to NordVPN’s huge network of over 5,500 servers. Even NordVPN, however, hasn’t extended as far as China, but it does have specially designed obfuscated servers that make your encrypted traffic look like normal traffic, therefore making it harder for the Chinese authorities to block.

With some seriously competitive pricing plans available, NordVPN offers excellent security and online privacy without breaking the bank. Although its speeds aren’t quite up to the standard set by ExpressVPN, they’re fast enough to stream China NBA.

Additional security comes in the form of NordVPN’s Double VPN option which reroutes traffic via two or more secure servers.

Make sure you don’t miss a minute of this season’s NBA action while in China by signing up with NordVPN today. Alternatively, find out what makes this impressive VPN tick by reading our full review here.

#3 Surfshark VPN

With just over 800 servers worldwide, Surfshark is something of a small fish in a big pond, but that doesn’t stop it from swimming across international cyberspace at high speeds. Surfshark is as lithe and versatile as its namesake. This reliable no-logging VPN can virtually guarantee access to blocked content and bypasses government restrictions with ease while keeping cybercriminals at bay.

As a relative newcomer to the cybersecurity scene, Surfshark offers competitively priced subscriptions, with the cheapest option being a two-year subscription at $1.99 per month.

Surfshark is a reliable VPN for watching NBA in China, streaming Netflix, and enjoying high-speed connections throughout the world, so why not sign up today? If you’re still fishing for more information about Surfshark and its services, however, you can read our full review here.


Despite the ongoing skirmish between NBA vs China, Chinese streaming site, Tencent, last week ignored the media blackout and live-streamed matches between both Minnesota and Maccabi Tel Aviv, and the Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls.

While China Central Television is currently continuing the blackout, both the NBA and China seem keen to resolve the situation quickly and peacefully. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Geng Shuang, “Exchanges in sports have always played an important role in promoting China-U.S. … friendship, but as we stated earlier… mutual respect is a prerequisite for conducting exchange and cooperation.”

A peaceful resolution of the NBA and China conflict is in sight but, even if the blackout is called off, a VPN is a prerequisite for those visiting China and wanting to perform their normal online activities. A VPN also offers excellent online security and will guarantee you access to NBA in China regardless of any further political disagreements.

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