China will block all non-approved VPNs from next month


From next month, China is going to start freezing out overseas VPN providers, blocking them so folks can’t use these services to get round the country’s infamous ‘Great Firewall’.

Following reports last summer that such a ban was in the pipeline, according to Radio Free Asia, the government now plans to implement this move at the end of March.

Specifically, Zhang Feng, chief engineer from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, clarified that all unlicensed VPN services would be blocked, meaning that all VPN firms will need to be officially licensed by the government in order to operate in China.

Regulation across the nation

Zhang noted: “We want to regulate VPNs which unlawfully conduct cross-border operational activities.”

He added: “Any foreign companies that want to set up a cross-border operation for private use will need to set up a dedicated line for that purpose. They will be able to lease such a line or network legally from the telecommunications import and export bureau.”

The Great Firewall already prevents access to a good number of sites and services, and things are only going to get more difficult with VPN workarounds being clamped down on much more tightly.

All the major State-owned Chinese telecom giants have already been told to make sure that their 1.3 billion subscribers can’t use VPN services to circumvent government censorship.

You may also recall that last year, Apple ejected a number of VPN apps from its App Store over in China at the behest of the government, including some very big-name VPN providers.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).