Chinese VPN user fined for accessing overseas websites as part of Beijing’s ongoing ‘clean up’ of internet – SCMP
What happened: A Chinese internet user surnamed Zhu received an RMB 1,000 (around $150) fine from the government of southern China’s Guangdong province for accessing banned websites by using virtual private network services without their permission, allowing him to jump over state-imposed firewalls. Zhu was punished for breaching the Provisional Regulations of China’s Administration of International Networking of Computer Information, which prescribes that individuals and organizations can only connect to international networks through channels provided by the government.
Why it’s important: The fine is by no means large, but it is a warning to China’s VPN users. The move shows the government’s stance in tightening control over the online behaviors of Chinese netizens. VPN crackdowns have held a reoccurring presence in China, where some of the world’s most popular services like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are blocked. The current crackdown comes alongside a “clean up” in domestic cyberspace, in which authorities are working to remove “vulgar” or inappropriate content.