China Has Been Upgrading Its Firewall, Leading to VPN Trouble

VPN service providers have been trying to limit the damage done, after the upgrade of China Firewall. It turns out that the Chinese have been aiming to obstruct people from connecting to VPN, due to the potential danger that such connection could pose for the country’s security. Regular updates are posted by VPN companies on the matter.

Thanks to the recent upgrade of the Great Firewall in China, the effectiveness of several VPN service providers has been affected and there have been connection problems raising grave concern. Although the use of VPN had been frowned upon from the beginning, the truth is that there is a shockingly large amount of people from China making use of such services. According to the report from GlobalWebIndex, there are more than 20 million Chinese people accessing Netflix via VPN and this is an alarmingly great number to consider. Along with Netflix, the Chinese Government seems to have come face to face with the truth about VPN and the reaction was swift and hard.

Strong VPN has been one of the service providers affected by the upgrade in Chinese cybersecurity. They update their page regularly, informing their subscribers about the connection issues raised. TunnelBear has noticed similar effects, while Astrill seemed to have iOS issues in the country. Currenty, most VPN service providers do not suffer from interruptions – however, everyone remains vigilant and the analysis of such upgrades is not at all optimistic.

On the other hand, Qin An – a security expert from China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, commented on the matter: “Authorities apparently cannot ignore these services, as they affect our cyberspace sovereignty. For instance, a shortcut has to be blocked since it could be used for some ulterior purposes, although it might affect others who use it in a right way.”

GreatFire is a site monitoring closely the latest incidents and the censorship in China as a whole. One of its founders has expressed his worries about the ongoing changes in the restrictions that seem to grow exponentially in the country: “We wouldn’t go so far to say that the authorities don’t want foreigners in China, but we do believe that the increased censorship of the Chinese internet is building a lot of new barriers — it’s now not just about blocking access to information…Censorship has suddenly become a serious business issue. When domestic and foreign companies cannot use the internet for basic business operations, it presents a real economic hurdle.”

As time passes, there are Twitter updates and comments on literally every single VPN service provider, reddit and other social media platforms on the upgrade of China’s Firewall. The growing doubt as to whether or not China is going to be fully accessible to both foreigners and locals is not likely to be contained, interpreting the signs and the reactions of its Government.

Top/Featured Image: By Purple Slog / Flickr (

Stella Strouvali Stella is a certified writer and zealous wordsmith, a true fan of Placebo, technology, Panionios and wellness. Still, her true passion has to do with eagerly learning new things and passing them on to others. “An unexamined life is not worth living”, to quote Socrates.
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