The Great Fire Wall of China is about to get a little bit taller.
From the end of next month, overseas providers of virtual private networks (VPNs) will be blocked in China, state media has reported.
From March 31, all VPNs in China must be licensed by the government, Zhang Feng, chief engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.
"We want to regulate VPNs which unlawfully conduct cross-border operational activities,” Zhang told reporters last week.
“Any foreign companies that want to set up a cross-border operation for private use will need to set up a dedicated line for that purpose,” he added.
“They will be able to lease such a line or network legally from the telecommunications import and export bureau. This shouldn’t affect their normal operations much at all.”
In a nutshell, the news means that it will become even harder than it already is, which is pretty darn hard, for regular Chinese folk and foreigners alike to access online content and websites that have been censored by the Chinese government.
Last year Apple agreed to remove more than 60 VPNs from its China app store, meaning only those with an App Store account registered in a foreign country could use the services.
Now even those with a foreign account will only be able to access government sanctioned VPNs.
State-run communications companies China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom have all been told to make sure their users can’t access blocked content with VPNs.
How this will affect our Googling, Facebook stalking and Instagramming activities is yet to be seen.
A further crackdown to internet freedom is also likely to affect both Chinese and foreign businesses working out of China.
According to a recent survey by the American Chamber of Commerce, US companies working in China said internet censorship was impeding their operations.
The year just gone was packed with happenings, big and small, in China. Some were good, but a whole lot were bad. Let’s have a look at China’s big news events of 2017.
The Chinese website of Marriott International has been shut down and an employee sacked after two incidences of the hotel chain “disrespecting China’s sovereignty”.
Good news for non-Chinese readers who get lost easily. Google Maps are available in China again!
International tourists transiting through Beijing can now enjoy visa-free stopovers of up to six days.
US coffee giants Starbucks is opening a new store in China every 15 hours.
Much of China’s table tissues and toilet paper do not meet minimum safety standards, according to a government-led survey.
So you can use a VPN but can't access blocked content, which people use a VPN for. I'm sure the special VPN access isn't monitored at all because why use it if you aren't trying to hide something from the CCP. I'm sure it will make the case that China has amazing internet freedom because they allow people to pay for something that does nothing but strengthens internet restrictions.
Feb 06, 2018 00:06 Report Abuse
All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.
Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.