Beijing authorities are cracking down on anti-censorship apps used to bypass the Great Firewall in China ahead of the upcoming “Victory Day” parade in the capital.
A big target is Astrill, a virtual private network (VPN) service, which allows users to connect with servers in various locations around the world while avoiding the servers with restrictions in China.
Users attempting to login on the web app are met with a warning about possible disruptions between now and September 3.
Beijing authorities began tightening control on the use of such apps earlier this year by targeting anti-censorship software developers inside China, which was followed by a DDoS attack on the code-repository GitHub, also linked to Chinese services.
Supporters of the Great Firewall have reasoned that it allows Chinese e-commerce and various online industries to develop without unfair competition from foreign corporations. Web-giants such as Google and Facebook are inaccessible inside China without the help of anti-censorship apps, while various foreign news outlets, blogs and social networking sites have become unfortunate casualties of the Great Firewall as well.
Meanwhile, Beijing is blocking off streets, closing stores and ordering half of the city’s cars off the roads as colorful rehearsals for the parade, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, are underway. Top leaders from 30 countries will be in attendance at the September 3 event.
by Dan Cunningham