China Tightens its Control of the Internet

The Chinese government recently launched a crackdown to bar Chinese citizens online access to content existing outside China’s “Great Firewall.” In prior crackdowns, the Chinese government announced that Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers, whose software can bypass the Great Firewall, had to register with the Chinese government. Now China’s government has gone much further, ordering Chinese VPN’s like the popular “Green” VPN to cease operations entirely, while VPN apps are rapidly disappearing off of Chinese versions of Android and I-Tunes app stores. The motive for this sudden crackdown is unclear, but President Xi Jinping has been taking a series of measures to consolidate his grip on power ahead of the 19th Communist Party Congress to be held in late 2017. —AK

Photo: iStock.com / TPopova