China Great Firewall

Short Bytes: VPN services are the only way to access uncensored internet on China’s soil. The South China Morning Post reports that a notice released by the Chinese government has made it mandatory for the VPN services to get an approval from the government. Unauthorized services will be tagged as illegal.

The Great Firewall is a digital wall separating China and the internet. It fuels all the censorship hobbies of the Chinese government. Also, the country has bagged the first position in last year’s list of countries with highest internet censorship released by Freedom House. So, it kind of becomes obvious that everything making its way through the firewall has to get a nod from the government.

The Chinese government doesn’t seem to be a fan of the VPN services, as they’re able to get past through the wall by making some cracks. Virtual Private Networks allow people to access restricted services. According to a report by South China Morning Post, a ban has been put on all the VPN services in China.

“China’s internet connection service market … has signs of ­disordered development that ­require urgent regulation and governance,” said a notice released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The notice mandates all of the VPN services to get approval from the Chinese government before they can continue their operations. It makes unauthorized VPN services illegal at the current point in time. The “clean-up” process would continue till March 31, 2018.

The latest move from China doesn’t come as a surprise. But, surely this has created a situation of panic among the users of VPN services. The Post says, 135 of the top 1000 websites–including Google, Facebook, YouTube–have been kicked out of the nation’s internet. Google has even created a version of Play Store especially for China, and Facebook might come with some censorship tool so that the company can step its foot in the mainland.

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Image: Giphy

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