China Will Block All VPNs By February 2018?

Today millions of people use VPN technology to circumvent China’s censorship system, known as the Great Firewall. Best VPN services like ExpressVPN, IPVanish, StrongVPN and NordVPN are very helpful for unblocking geo restricted content and accessing blocked websites and contents in China. VPNs are a critical tool for secure communication and global connectivity.

However, according to Bloomberg report on July 2017, it said that the Chinese government has told telecommunications carriers to block access to VPNs for individuals by February 1, 2018. It mentioned that:

“Beijing has ordered state-run telecommunications firms, which include China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, to bar people from using VPNs, services that skirt censorship restrictions by routing web traffic abroad, the people said, asking not to be identified talking about private government directives.”

The news makes many users worried. The block on VPNs means that the users would not be able to access websites like Facebook and Twitter, and use services like Gmail and WhatsApp. Even reading The New York Times and Wall Street Journal in China will be impossible.

But later on, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has challenged Bloomberg’s report, dismissing rumors of an impending VPN ban as false. The MIIT told the state-run media outlet that recent news in foreign media of a VPN ban were untrue and that it never issued such a notice to the telecom firms.

While it’s unclear if a VPN ban may ever go into effect, one thing is certain: any move to do so is sure to spook foreign nationals and companies working within China.