The Chinese government have announced the mass shutdown of (Virtual Private Networks) VPNs in the country, making it harder for internet users to bypass its Great Firewall, according to a by the South China Morning Post.

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A virtual private network (VPN ) extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet . It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.

The Chinese Government calls it a total “clean-up” of the China’s Internet connections. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Sunday that “it had launched a 14-month-long crackdown on the use of unsupervised internet connections, including VPNs”

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The new rules by the Ministry makes it illegal to use or operate a local VPN service without government’s approval and require all VPNs and leased cable lines operating in China have a license from the government.

Still according to the ministry, “all special cable and VPN services on the mainland needed to obtain prior government approval—a move making most VPN service providers in the country of 730 million Internet users illegal.”

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However, the ban on VPNs and cable connections would begin immediately and will remain in place until March 31, 2018.

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