In July, we got the news of China’s blanket ban on all types of VPN, but later on the same month, it was published on Bloomberg that ministry of industry and information will continue to allow legitimate access. In a statement from The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology stated that “Trade or multinational enterprises, if they require leased lines or other methods to access the internet abroad, can turn to authorized telecommunications entities,” and that “The (January) notice will not affect normal operations.” However, it is unclear what ordinary netizens have in store for them.
Recent news of a man being sentenced to nine months in jail for selling two VPNs via his website has again stirred confusion in people’s mind. Netizens across mainland are worried whether using VPN might land them in jail or entitle them to penalties. In 2016 Deng Jiewei, from Guangdong was arrested for selling VPN through his website. Supreme People’s Court posted on their website that Deng had been convicted of “providing software and tools for invading and illegally controlling the computer information system.” He and his partner made nearly ¥14,000 by selling the software. He was sentenced in March, but the online court documents were circulated only recently.
It was also reported on South China Morning Post, that people who used VPN to access banned sites in Chongqing get a message on their computer to disconnect immediately. It also says people who generate profits more than ¥5000 from using a VPN can receive fine up to ¥15,000.
Sources: South China Morning Post, CNN, NYTimes, Forbes.
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