Already making plans to move following a terrifying Bloomberg report earlier this week which said that China had ordered a ban to be put in place against all personal VPNs by February 1st, 2018? Well, not so fast!
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has told The Paper that, in fact, it has not sent out any orders to the country’s telecommunications providers regarding a forthcoming personal VPN ban, calling the Bloomberg piece — which cited anonymous insiders — “false.”
Instead, the ministry simply pointed to a directive that it issued this January that cracked down on companies using unauthorized VPNs to conduct business. The new rules declared that all cable and VPN services must obtain prior government approval before being used for business activities that go across China’s borders. While these regulations may sound a bit scary, they are not targeted at personal VPNs.
Rumors about forthcoming VPN bans are a regular fact of life for foreigners living in China that still never fail to cause a stir. However, many saw reports of this ban to be more plausible than most as China has recently stepped up efforts to safeguard its “cyber sovereignty” and strengthen its “Great Firewall.” For example, earlier this month, popular VPN service, GreenVPN, notified its users that it was being forced to shut down after “receiving a notice from regulatory departments.”
But, at least for now, expats can apparently rest easy… well, maybe not too easy.
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