China’s web filters commonly known as the Great Firewall of China have now become stronger and harder to breach. The Chinese government has reinforced its digital censorship platform, hence making it more difficult to use services called virtual private networks to circumvent the countrys blocks to the U.S. services like Google and Facebook.
China has seen some of the most burdensome internet restrictions, but until now the presence of VPNs had made life tolerable for the people (yet irksome for the government). The move to disable some of the most widely-used VPNs has provoked a torrent of outrage among video artists, entrepreneurs and professors. But it is the IT companies like Microsoft in the United States that suffer the most from missed opportunities in China’s booming market.
Last week, Astrill, a popular VPN provider whose service allows people to jump the Great Firewall, told subscribers that its product was no longer working on iPhones and iPads. Another provider, Golden Frog, also reported disruptions last week.
As per the government of China, the chief reason behind all these aggressive moves is to compel all cyber services to follow the rules and regulation of the Chinese government. The governments drive for cyber sovereignty has increased, especially since President Xi Jinping came to power two years ago The authorities now not only just target public information sharing, they target private communications like Gmail and Outlook as well. The web filters serve a dual purpose of screening out content critical of the Chinese government and providing protection for Chinas own growing web firms against stronger rivals in other nations.
As the Internet develops, and new circumstances arise, we will take new regulatory measures to keep up, said Wen Ku, a director with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
In the recent weeks a number of Chinese academics have expressed their frustrations at being unable to operate Google scholar, a search engine that provides links to millions of scholarly papers from around the world.
However, despite the Great Firewall some Chinese companies like Alibaba and Baidu have thrived and grown to be some of the biggest Internet firms in China.
But the question at hand is how far the Chinese authorities will go to stifle the internet and ban VPN providers as any further clamp down on the internet is sure to cause problems for businesses which is not in Chinas best interests.