China Crackdown on Internet as It Seeks to Stamp-Out Covid Protests

VPN or Virtual Private Network can be described as an opportunity to create a protected network connection while using a public network. It encrypts internet traffic and disguises online identity. Thus, this makes it more difficult for third parties to track online activities and steal data.

Because VPN services are a reliable tool for Chinese internet users to bypass the Great Firewall. But recently users started reporting connectivity issues on the mainland after anti-lockdown protest content flooded Twitter.

China Tends to Tighten Control Over VPN Sales

As per the latest news update sourced from the WSJ, the online watchdog told the tech-giant to expand the censorship of information about the demonstration and take the necessary steps to curb the virtual private network used to bypass online control this week. This is due to the Chinese government’s successful removal of many protesters from the streets after national demonstrations erupted over the weekend against China’s strict Covid policy.

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China’s Cyberspace Administration issued guidance to technology companies on November 29, 2022, including Tencent Holdings Ltd. and ByteDance Ltd. people are familiar with the problem.

The tech giant was also asked to pay more attention to content related to protests, especially information shared about demonstrations in Chinese universities and fires in the western Xinjiang region that led to a national pushback on Covid policies.

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According to the people, regulators are also asking officials to take the company to task for preventing searches related to VPNs, which protesters and their supporters are using to broadcast recent demonstration videos.

However, the directive was issued after an internal meeting at the internet regulator where officials were told to ask search engines, e-commerce companies and internet content platforms to direct a new sweep to remove sales posts and information related to how to use VPNs.

It should be noted that in this incident, no official response has been received from the Cyberspace Administration of China, ByteDance or Tencent.

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A well-known VPN service provider from China, ExpressVPN, says it is experiencing connectivity issues in China. “We are aware of the issue, and our engineers are currently working on a fix,” ExpressVPN said.

The famous VPN service provider from China, ExpressVPN, updated on its official site on November 30, 2022 that “The team is aware of the drop in VPN connectivity affecting users in China. It is important that you follow all the troubleshooting steps detailed below to restore your VPN connection, while we investigate the issue and try to provide you with the latest updates,” due to experiencing connectivity issues in China.

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