Source: Sup China (7/31/17)
VPN clampdown getting real
By Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief
Virtual private networks (VPNs) have been a popular tool to get around internet censorship of foreign websites in China for more than a decade. While the regulators have interfered with their operation, there has previously not been a sustained campaign against them. That seems to have changed:
- In January, we noted that the internet and telecom regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), published an order (in Chinese) specifically naming VPNs as a target for regulation.
- Earlier in July, we reported that some Chinese VPN services have been shut down, while Bloomberg said that state-run telecommunications firms, including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, have been ordered “to bar people from using VPNs.”
- Apparently in response to Bloomberg’s report, MIIT released a statement saying that it will not block “legitimate access” to the global internet by local or foreign business and general users, while some pundits predicted that the VPN clampdown was mere rhetoric.