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​VPNs can still be used in China despite March 31 ban

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China's VPN ban came into effect on March 31, 2018, but virtual private network providers are still claiming their users have access to their services in the country.

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China cracked down on the use of "unauthorised" VPNs[3] throughout the course of 2017 with a campaign to take down and control censorship-thwarting software that attempts to break the country's surveillance and blocking lists.

The VPN crackdown culminated in the removal of all VPN apps by Apple[4] from the Chinese App Store in July, and at the same time, Beijing ordered its state-owned internet service providers, including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, to completely block access to VPNs [5] by February 2018, ahead of the slated March 31 ban.

However, businesses and internet users are still waiting for the ban to take effect, with one provider, NordVPN, reporting a lack of information from Chinese authorities about how and when exactly the ban will be implemented.

The company also said businesses have reported that so far there have been no announcements from authorities about the ban.

A VPN service encrypts the traffic flow between the provider and a user's device; it can also prevent tracking software and governments from monitoring user internet activity and helps hide

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