China Denies It's Blocking VPNs by February 2018

By That's, July 12, 2017

4 0

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has dismissed rumors of an impending VPN ban as false.

Earlier this week, unnamed officials told Bloomberg that telecommunications providers China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom were ordered to bar virtual private network (VPN) access by February 1, 2018.

READ MORE: VPNs to Be Blocked in China By February 2018?

But according to The Paper, those reports are false. The MIIT told the state-run media outlet that recent news in foreign media of a VPN ban were untrue and that it never issued such a notice to the telecom firms. 

In response to the reports, the MIIT referred to a series of of new rules issued in January of this year aimed at regulating the Internet access services sector and cracking down on 'illegal' or 'unlicensed' business activity. Among the regulations is one which prevents domestic telecom companies and Internet service providers from setting up special lines such as VPNs without prior government approval. The MIIT also noted that they are still reviewing the regulations.

But don't breathe a sigh of relief just yet. If recent developments are any indication, China might still be working to crack down on VPNs. 

In March, for instance, Chongqing authorities announced strict rules stipulating that individual users and companies could be fined up to RMB15,000 if they were caught using a VPN. Some speculated that similar measures could soon be rolled out across the rest of the country.

READ MORE: China Cracking Down on Unauthorized VPNs

And late last month, we reported on rumors that VPNs would be removed from Apple and Android's Chinese app markets by July 1. (However, a search of the term ‘VPN’ on the Chinese Apple Store this evening still pulled up a number of downloads, including Astrill, ExpressVPN and Onekey, indicating talk of VPNs being pulled may have been premature).

While it's unclear if a VPN ban may ever go into effect, one thing is certain: any move to do so is sure to spook foreign nationals and companies working within China. 

more news

Are Corporate VPNs Getting Disrupted in China?

International companies and organizations in China — including two European embassies — have allegedly experienced VPN disruptions, the Financial Times reports.

Apple Turns Over China iCloud Services to State-Owned Data Firm

Apple announces that iCloud services in China — including data storage — will be turned over to a local company starting next month.

China Telecom Employees Deny VPN Ban Coming This Week

Employees of China Telecom have denied reports of an impending VPN ban.

Apple Removes VPNs from App Store in China

Major VPN software appears to have been removed from China's Apple App Store.

Are VPNs About to Get Banned in China?

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) rumored to be banned by July 1, 2017.

You Can Now Get Fined for Using a VPN in China

New law calls for fines of up to RMB15,000 for circumventing the Great Firewall in a major Chinese city.

Nooo! Pinterest the Latest Site to be Blocked in China

Say goodbye to pinning all those recipes and wedding dresses.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.