China vowed on Tuesday (Jan 30) to force both local and foreign companies and individuals to use only government-approved software to access the global internet, as overseas firms fear losing unrestricted online services under an impending deadline.
International companies and individuals have been fretting for months over whether Beijing would enforce new regulations curbing the use of virtual private networks (VPN).
The content accessible on China’s domestic internet is highly restricted. Google, Facebook and other foreign websites such as the New York Times and the BBC, as well as some email services, are blocked by the country’s Great Firewall of censorship.
One way to bypass the controls is by using a VPN, which can allow users to access the unfiltered global internet. This is where authorities are cracking down.