China to block VPNs by end of March

Published:  2 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Citizenship, China
The anticipated block by the Chinese government of all popular VPNs is now confirmed to begin at the end of next month.

All attempts by netizens to circumvent the controversial Great Firewall of China with the use of VPNs will fail after the block is put in place, leaving almost all of the overseas services used by Chinese businesses, Chinese citizens and expats unable to be accessed. According to a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Information and Information Technology, the government wants to regulate any type of cross-border technology, adding the move is unlikely to affect foreign companies if they lease approved lines of communication.

Foreign businesses, of course, don’t in any way agree with the ministry spokesman, as all private business and personal data will be an open book to any Chinese authority via the ‘approved lines of communication’. The personal side of VPN usage hasn’t attracted comments from the Chinese authorities, although literally hundreds of thousands of everyday Chinese regularly bypass the Great Wall to access social media and information sites. In addition, many thousands of expats living and working in the country use VPNs to stay in touch with friends and families at home, whilst online Chinese businesses of all sizes use VPNs to ensure reliable contact with their overseas clients.

Whilst the Chinese authorities aren’t likely to block their own preferred secure communications lines from public use, they’re likely to allow their use only on leased lines. For businesses and others taking this route, transferred data will be heavily monitored, thus entirely defeating the purpose of using the leased lines as VPNs. Experts consider it's not likely China will succeed in blocking 100 per cent of overseas VPN services, but it’s certain the move will make accessing the free, open internet a serious problem for Chinese and expat users who depend on VPNs.
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