The VPN Ban in China

If you are one of those who doesn’t want to miss an update from your friends on Facebook or search for any information on Google, there is some bad news waiting for you if living in China. This country has officially banned the use of VPNs and they are making life harder for the ones trying to bypass such restrictions.

With the relationship between China and the US not being so smooth, China had developed its own Internet policy a long time ago. However, there were people who still managed to get the better of these policies using a VPN. In fact, the fight to stop VPN is not just to manage the Internet policies of the country. It is also a way to restrict the companies that are providing these services.

The Great Firewall of China

You may have come across this term quite a few times while searching for the best VPNs to use in China but never really paid attention to what it is. Well, the concept is pretty easy. As soon as you enter China, you will not be able to access Facebook, YouTube, Google, or even the New York Times, for example. The highly restricted Internet policy in China bans all of these websites. They have their own search engine, their own social networking websites, and so on. So, why exactly has The Great Firewall of China been implemented?

Many websites being forbidden

China is a one-party country. The President has increased the online restraints in the country, especially after the relations with the US got bitter. The main problem started as a reaction to the death of Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace prize winner who wrote a manifesto calling for a reform in China’s democracy.

Not only was Facebook blocked, but there was also a list of restrictions that cut down the freedom of Virtual Private Networks. This meant that it became even more difficult to bypass Internet policies in China. Previously, people who had plans to live in China for a month or so got a premium VPN service activated. That way, they could access the websites that were usually banned in the country.

Many companies that are responsible for providing VPN services were removed from online stores. Only VPNs approved by the government are now allowed. This means that users can use an approved VPN, but most likely that company will provide activity logs to the government.

Why the VPN ban?

The use of foreign websites became a concern for the government of China because of the impact that their ideas and mentality can have on the population. Information and different points of view are feared by most authoritarian countries.

One of the things that worries the government is that Chinese citizens use a VPN to access foreign websites and criticize the sate. For example, forums that are related to politics, such as Chinese-Tibetan relations, are heavily monitored and censored.

The censorship of foreign content

The tension between China and some foreign countries has played a major role in creating some drastic measures. After the implementation of The Great Firewall of China, the IP addresses of foreign news related sites have been restricted. Also, communication with foreign universities has been cut down.

The background of the ban

The Great Firewall of China was established in the early 2000s when the Golden Shield Project was introduced. It was around that time that China decided that they would use a database-based surveillance system that will have the capability to access the record of every citizen.

With the relationships going downhill with the US, China increased the security of the websites that were used in the country. This led to the introduction of the restriction of various websites and eventually, the blocking of any website that had anything to do with the US. The Chinese government has employed thousands of people to ensure that the censorship problems are dealt with professionally and the ban on VPNs is not breached at any point.

Consequences of using a VPN in China

Although this ban is quite new, some consequences are already visible. One thing that we can say for sure is that the most drastic measures are directed at the ones who create VPNs that are not approved by the country. Heavy fines are applied and some citizens were even sent to jail. For users, so far, there are cases of lighter fines and the police requesting to delete VPN apps from their devices.

Final Notes

It’s important to note that some VPNs can bypass the Great Firewall of China. They do not have offices in China, nor are they controlled by Chinese authorities. Users can still find such VPNs and use them. As long as there is an Internet connection to download the VPN software and a payment method, there is a way to acquire them.

But, at the same time, it may also be a risky thing to do. Before buying it, the user is unprotected, and the online search for a forbidden VPN may attract some undesired attention. Some Chinese users have had problems with the law for doing so.

The safer solution seems to be coming to the country with a VPN, instead of getting one there. The connection of the user would be encrypted from the very beginning.