Is the establishment of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to China allowed?

Posted by Raphael Luppold, Last modified by Raphael Luppold on 22 April 2020 15:33

The use of VPNs was in a "grey area" for quite some time in China. With them it was possible to circumvent the so-called "Great Firewall of China", which meant it was also possible to avoid the Internet censorship in China. VPNs have therefore always been a thorn in the side of the Chinese state, which is why it now regulates the use of VPNs to China with laws, and constantly tightens these with new requirements.

Under Chinese law, the operation of a VPN to China is initially not permitted. The operation of a VPN can be approved by the Chinese state by means of a corresponding license, although the use thereof is still subject to several restrictions. If a VPN is operated without appropriate permission, it is highly likely that sooner or later, and without warning, it will be blocked by the Chinese state.

According to a decree, published on January 22, 2017 by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, companies wishing to establish or continue using a VPN to China must register their VPN from April 01, 2018 onwards. The VPN is registered via the authorized telecommunications providers (at the end of 2018 these were China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile). After receiving the corresponding license, the VPN can be implemented using an MPLS or SD-WAN solution via the telecommunications provider.

All users of the VPN are obliged to comply with Chinese laws and Internet censorship, and should not access or redistribute websites and services such as Facebook and Google via the VPN, which are otherwise blocked in China. Furthermore, no personal data may be transmitted abroad via the VPN. Additionally, the VPN may only be used within the company for which it was registered and only for internal company purposes. The joint use of the VPN by partner companies or other third parties is not permitted.

Since the registration of VPNs has become compulsory, a large number of VPN providers in China have already been completely blocked and corresponding VPN apps removed from the Chinese app stores.

As a partner of Chinese telecommunications providers, we can support you in obtaining a licensed VPN via MPLS, SD-WAN or as hybrid WAN in China. Just get in touch with us.

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