VPNs to Be Blocked in China By February 2018?

By Gary Bailer, July 11, 2017

7 1

UPDATE (July 12, 2017 at 8.50pm CST): China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has denied reports of a VPN ban as false. Read more about that here.

Tired of hearing about the imminent demise of unhindered access to the Internet from inside China? Well then, we’re sorry to do this, but here goes: the government in Beijing has told telecommunications providers to bar virtual private network (VPN) access by February 1, 2018.

The move, part of President Xi Jinping’s ‘cyber sovereignty campaign,’ will affect state-run firms, namely China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, all of which will be forced to block users from using VPNs, according to unnamed officials cited in a Bloomberg Technology report.

If true, this move would affirm the government’s January commitment to shut down technology that allows Internet users in China to bypass the nation’s ‘Great Firewall,’ which famously blocks access to sites ranging from Facebook and Google to publications such as the New York Times

Back in March, authorities in Chongqing unveiled strict new Internet rules that could see web users hit with a fine of up to RMB15,000 for accessing blocked websites with a VPN. At the time, 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. A search of the term ‘VPN’ on the Chinese Apple Store this morning still pulled up a number of downloads, including Astrill, ExpressVPN and Onekey, indicating talk of VPNs being pulled may have been premature.

While there is some debate online about whether Internet service providers can fully implement a ban on VPNs, any move to do so is sure to spook foreign nationals and companies working within China. 

Bloomberg Technology claims that businesses operating in the country will still be able to use a registered ‘leased line’ to access the uncensored web, although we speculate smaller companies using commercially available VPNs may have a hard time, providing the rules are stringently implemented.

“VPNs are incredibly important for companies trying to access global services outside of China,” Jake Parker, vice president of the US-China Business Council, told Bloomberg Tech. He added that the ban will impact individuals most directly.

None of China’s three major carriers gave comments for the report, and neither did China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

READ MORE: Why VPN Apps Might Actually Be Dangerous for Your Phone (And Privacy)

[Image via Extreme Tech]

more news

8 Ways For Singles to Spend Valentine's Day in China

You are a fiercely independent woman/man, and you don't need any man/woman.

PHOTOS: China’s Tourist Spots You're Glad You Avoided Over CNY

We’ve compiled another round of shocking photos from another year of CNY tourism mania.

9 Things to Expect During Spring Festival in China

Staying in China for CNY? Here's what to expect.

These Photos of CNY Crowds in China Will Make You Cringe

It's not the end of the world, just the end of a year.

2019 Spring Festival Gala Livestream: How to Watch Online in China

Each year, the four-hour New Year Gala is the most watched television show in the world, with at least 700 million viewers tuning in every year.

Super Bowl 2019 Livestream: How to Watch Online in China

The 2019 Super Bowl is happening tomorrow and we can’t wait!

Here Are 7 Search Engines to Use in China When Bing Won't Load

It's time to venture outside your digital comfort zone...

Man Tosses Young Girl from 3rd-Floor Mall Balcony in South China

The youth, whose age has not been made public, suffered injuries to her head and butt as a result of the fall.

1 User Comments

    In Case You Missed It…

    We're on WeChat!

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

    7 Days in Guangzhou With thatsmags.com

    Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

    Subscribe

    Download previous issues

    Never miss an issue of That's PRD!

    Visit the archives

    Get the App. Your essential China city companion.