Man fined 1,000 yuan for using VPN to access overseas websites

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/6 15:23:40


Chinese TV shows have been attracting a growing foreign audience, who are able to watch them online with the help of VPNs.Photo: IC

A man in South China's Guangdong Province was fined 1,000 yuan ($146) for frequently using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to access overseas websites.

The man, surnamed Zhu, from Shaoguan, Guangdong was punished on December 28 for setting up and using illegal channels many times to connect to international networks, the Guangdong government website said.

Zhu's behavior has violated Articles 6 and 14 of the Provisional Regulations of China's Administration of International Networking of Computer Information.

The regulation, issued in 1996 and revised in 1997, states that individuals and organizations shall connect to international networks only through channels provided by the government, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's (MIIT) website.

MIIT launched a campaign to crack down on illegal VPNs in 2017, which resulted in a man, surnamed Wu, from South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region being sentenced to five and a half years in prison for selling VPN services online. Wu was also fined 500,000 yuan, the amount that he made from selling thousands of VPN routers and software since 2013.

MIIT spokesperson Zhang Feng told the media that some foreign companies or multinationals who need to use VPNs for business purposes can rent special lines from telecommunications operators that legally provide such services.

If Zhu did not do other illegal things, it would be inappropriate to punish him this hard for accessing overseas websites, Qin An, head of the Beijing-based Institute of China Cyberspace Strategy, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Qin called for an amendment to the 20-year-old regulations on VPN use. "The regulation should keep up with the times," Qin said.

Newspaper headline: Guangdong man fined for using VPN to access overseas websites

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