China’s Latest Proposal to Block Internet VPNs Still Doesn’t Make Sense

The “VPNs are going to be blocked in China” story seems to get written at least once a year. Eventually, it might actually come true. In a story first reported by Bloomberg (citing anonymous government sources) but since corroborated by South China Morning Post, China’s major state-owned telecom companies have been ordered to block access to VPNs beginning February 1, 2018.

If you’re living in China and reading Radii, then you probably already know what a VPN is, but for anyone else reading (Hi, Mom! I’ll be home for your birthday!), a VPN refers to a Virtual Private Network. This is a system that allows computer users to circumvent China’s Internet censorship (commonly referred to as the “Great Firewall” [GFW]) and access blocked parts of the global Internet such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, the New York Times, and PornHub.