SCMP: “China tightens Great Firewall by declaring unauthorised VPN services illegal”

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Hong Kong based daily newspaper SCMP (South China Morning Post) reported on Monday that China has again started to crack down VPN providers that allow unfiltered access from the mainland to many popular websites such as Google, New York Times, Facebook and Twitter.

China Firewall

China now requires VPN providers to register (why would they do so) and have prior government approval to provide tunneling services.

You can access the SCMP article here of which below is an excerpt:

“China’s internet connection service market … has signs of ­disordered development that ­require urgent regulation and governance,” the ministry said.

The crackdown on unregulated internet connections aimed to “strengthen cyberspace information security management”.

Major VPN service companies including Vypr and Express said they were aware of the issue.

China blocks access to 135 out of 1,000 sites in one ranking of the world’s top websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, according to Greatfire.org, which monitors online censorship on the mainland.

As a result, many internet users on the mainland rely on VPN services to access blocked sites and services. A cat-and-mouse game has thus been going on for years between the authorities and VPN service providers.

Conclusion

I was just in China the other weekend (Harbin Ice & Snow Festival) and on my way tomorrow to Lhasa for the Chinese New Year.

The ExpressVPN worked just fine and I had mostly good connection to foreign sites during my stay. I use Google’s Project Fi (read more here) for mobile data and it guarantees unfiltered access to all sites by routing all the traffic via US I would assume.

I wouldn’t mind traveling more in China as long as I can be sure that I can get my work done which requires having unfiltered internet. Many international hotels in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen do have unfiltered access on some of the floors where they tend to put their western guests.

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