Jan 23, 2015

China Blocks VPN Access as Part of Power Struggle, Says Adjunct Professor Xiao Qiang

From The Associated Press

China Blocks VPN Services That Skirt Online Censorship

By Jack Chang, Associated Press

China is blocking VPN services that let users skirt online censorship of popular websites such as Google and Facebook amid a wider crackdown on online information, tech companies and specialists said Friday....

The Chinese government blocks thousands of websites to prevent what it deems politically sensitive information from reaching Chinese users. Many foreigners in China as well as millions of Chinese depend on VPNs to connect to servers outside the country and access blocked information and Google-based business tools. VPNs encrypt and reroute Internet traffic so that censors can't tell what's being accessed....

The crackdown comes during sensitive political times, as President Xi Jinping's government prosecutes top officials accused of corruption, said Xiao Qiang, an adjunct professor with UC Berkeley's School of Information.

"We all know that China is in the middle of a very ferocious power struggle or political cleansing under the name of an anti-corruption campaign," Xiao said. "That to me is a very clearly related fact with the amount of political rumors and information related to China's high politics showing up in websites outside of China."

And while the controls hurt businesses that depend on online information and tools, Chinese censors are more worried about restricting political information, Xiao said.


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Last updated: October 4, 2016