The Global Times newspaper in Beijing reported that China announced it is "upgrading" its Internet censorship to disrupt VPN services inside the nation of 1.3 billion people. The Great Firewall of China has long blocked those within the country from reaching popular international sites such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. To get around it, people must purchase access to a virtual private network, or VPN. These services allow a user to create a private pipeline to the Internet, bypassing China's online censors.
Under Chinese law, companies and individuals that use VPN services are required to register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, though few do. Astrill, one of the more popular VPN providers in China tweeted that "due to increased censorship in China," VPN usage on Apple devices was being blocked "in almost real-time."