Well-known Chinese VPN service GreenVPN has closed its doors after pressure from the Chinese authorities.
GreenVPN which is little known outside China catered for Chinese users who wished to hop over the Chinese internet firewall.
The firewall often referred to as the Great Firewall of China blocks access to many websites that those of us in the western world take for granted.
Sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are blocked and only by using services such as that provided by GreenVPN were users able to avoid such censorship and access the internet freely.
GreenVPN closes under pressure
Chinese news site ecns.cn reports that GreenVPN was forced to close after regulations introduced by the Chinese authorities prohibited any company from enabling cross border access without prior approval.
With China having extremely strict internet policies in place it seems strange that a VPN service should operate within its borders in the first place and surprising that the service hasn’t been shuttered earlier.
Users visiting the GreenVPN website are now faced with a message that informs them that the service will close as of July 1st. The site itself gives no explanation as to why it is closing only informing users of how they can receive or forfeit refunds.
GreenVPN closure message in Mandarin.
In order to continue operating GreenVPN would likely have had to have had authorisation from Chinese authorities to carry out their business practices.
In highly censored China this was unlikely to be granted and if so there would probably have been stipulations that the company give backdoor access to the authorities.
Hong Kong pressure
News of the closure takes a further twist as the English language version of the GreenVPN website lists contact details in Hong Kong which although part of China is not subject to the same internet restrictions as the rest of mainland China.
There has been recent discussion about how much Hong Kong is being absorbed back into the mainland. If the recent news that authorities have managed to influence a Hong Kong based VPN provider is true then it paints a bleak future for internet freedoms in Hong Kong.
Chinese users free internet future
Chinese users were quite clearly upset at the recent developments making use of blocked site Twitter to vent their frustration. What is evident is that users were likely using GreenVPN while they still had the opportunity.
Tweets included “I will miss you,goodbye ? #greenvpn” by user Viviendon. User Roland Run who tweets under the account rrl2322004 was pondering his final days on Twitter writing “The Green VPN will die in 3 days. Just cherish my last moments on twitter and ins. Btw, I still haven’t figured out the fun of Facebook:(”
Celia.H.Cat assumed this was the end of their Twitter usage proclaiming “Well, since Green vpn will close since next week, I’ll be away for a very long time”
While other users were more upbeat looking for solutions as @qweozp questioned “Sorry to hear that we can’t use green VPN again. So… The problem is that which VPN can we use”.
Chinese VPN choices
Thankfully for Chinese internet users there are available VPN choices offered by companies who are not based in China or Hong Kong.
Top rated VPN service VPN.ac offer servers in nearby Hong Kong which allow access to all censored websites and have systems in place to defeat censorship as much as possible.
Chinese users wanting to access blocked websites should sign up to VPN.ac via their Chinese accessible URL.