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China cracks down on VPNs

China has tightened its grip on the “Great Firewall” by shutting down a popular VPN app used by locals and visitors alike.

GreenVPN told its users that it would be closing down its service in China as of last weekend “after receiving a notice from regulatory departments”, while China Digital Times reported that other VPNs including Netfits, VPN Master Pro, Ponhon, Snap VPN and SkyX were among others that had disappeared from local app stores in recent months. There were also claims that another popular VPN, SuperVPN, wasn’t working, either.

VPN providers have to be registered in China and escrow their keys, although a number of services and their apps have ignored the rule.

The move comes as concern rises about the widespread crackdown on online content in China. Reuters reported on Tuesday that Chinese regulators have been closing down celebrity gossip sites, restricting what video can be posted and suspending online streaming, saying the restrictions are because of “inappropriate content”.

New rules announced on Friday crack down on online content and saying that at least three “auditors” will have to check all dramas, documentaries and animations posted online to ensure that they comply with “core socialist values”. Under the guidance, content should “sing the motherland, eulogise heroes, celebrate our times in song, and lead the people to hold the correct historical, ethnic, national and cultural view”.

The crackdown also bans LGBT content, saying that the display of “abnormal sexual behaviours” is prohibited, a move that was condemned by the LGBT community. Li, an activist, wrote on Weibo, China’s dominant microblogging site that the move “violates the rights of sexual minorities to express their sexual preference”.

via nakedsecurity
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