China tightens grip over internet during key political meeting

Published - March 11, 2024 12:41 am IST - Beijing

China has intensified efforts to block software that enables Internet users to access banned websites during a top political meeting this week, a leading provider of firewall-leaping software said.

Beijing operates some of the world’s most extensive censorship over the Internet, with web users in mainland China unable to access everything from Google to news websites without using a virtual private network (VPN).

And as thousands of delegates gather in Beijing this week for the annual “Two Sessions” meeting, VPN software has increasingly struggled to circumvent the censorship while outages have become much more frequent, even when compared to during previous sensitive political events.

Increased censorship

“Currently, there is increased censorship due to political meetings in China,” a representative of the Liechtenstein-based service Astrill — one of the most popular VPN services for foreigners in China — said. “Unfortunately, not all VPN protocols are functioning at this time,” they said.

“We are working intensively on bringing all services back to normal, but currently have no ETA.”

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