Internet censorship in China is strictly implemented by deploying the notorious The Great Firewall. The firewall makes it next to impossible for Chinese users to visit websites that are blocked by the government even if someone uses VPN services. However, there are several unauthorized VPN services available in the country which claim to bypass the firewall. Chinese authorities are continuously cracking down on such VPN service providers.
One of the biggest crackdowns came recently when a Chinese man was arrested from the Taizhou city of China. As reported by Litchi News, the man operating under the pseudonym of Gao made a whopping $1.6 million by selling VPN services.
The report claims that Gao’s VPN services were hugely successful in bypassing The Great Firewall and had more than 28,000 customers until the law enforcement arrested him.
Chinese authorities report that the estimated revenue from VPN services offered by Gao in China is more than any other VPN provider arrested before him.
For comparison, in December 2017, a man from Pingnan was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison for offering unauthorized VPN services. He made around $120,000 and had 8,000 customers.
Given the scale of the revenue and the number of customers of Gao, he could be sentenced for an even longer period.
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Operating VPN services in China is not illegal. However, all the VPN providers in China are required to register themselves with Chinese authorities to ensure that the VPN isn’t used for any illegal activity or for bypassing The Great Firewall.