China tightens internet censorship controls

Foreign company branches in China almost always communicate via a secure VPN connection with the head office in the headquarters. So far, China’s authorities have tolerated that. This is changing now.

The so-called Virtual Private Networks (VPN) allowed users to bypass the censored internet of China by surfing with a foreign country code in the network instead of a Chinese one. This method made blocked sites such as Google, Skype, Facebook, Youtube, WhatsApp and co. accessible again. Since 1 February, it is only possible to use state-approved VPN providers to bypass certain blockages, which means a further state control and censorship. It seems, however, that the Chinese government deliberately wants to leave foreign companies in the dark – no law firm, no consulting firm, no diplomatic representation knows the proceeding details.