At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Xi Jinping has been advocating on the basic tenets of globalization while at home China has done everything to infringe on the basics of online privacy of its citizens.
With Chinese authorities routinely blocking access to popular sites, including, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the likes, many residents in the Chinse mainland had resorted to using virtual private networks to bypass these restrictions and access their favourite apps.
Starting this week, using a VPN could be considered as a crime in China. The usage of VPNs and special cable connections must now be approved by the Chinese government.
South China Morning Post has reported that Beijing’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced the formation of these new rules on Sunday.
The Ministry has called for a “clean-up” of the country’s internet connections, saying the new rules would be operationalized immediately and be in place until March 31st, 2018.
Do note, that VPNs are already subject to interference and scrutiny by the government in China.
As per the South China Morning Post, the most recent, large-scale crackdown on VPNs occurred in March 2016 during the National People’s Congress meeting in Beijing.
As pointed out by The Washington Post the Chinese have purposefully kept the cable regulations governing internet connectivity as vague and thus as flexible as possible. The language in the new announcement suggests that with this new rule, the Chinese government is trying to clamp down on individual citizens who make use of VPN services.
In stark contrast to the basic tenets of freedom and globalisation, Chinese premier, Xi Jinping was being very vocal at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We must redouble efforts to develop global connectivity to enable all countries to achieve inter-connected growth and share prosperity. … Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air,” said Jinping.
In July 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council had come down hard on states-sponsored disruption of internet access while upholding online privacy as an essential facet of the freedom of expression.