Wellington: China has reportedly announced that it is "upgrading" its internet censorship to block Virtual Private Network (VPN) services inside the country, a report said.
The move comes as part of a government crackdown on one of the few options available to the citizens and foreigners in China to access the internet fully, reported Stuff.co.nz.
The Great Firewall of China has long maintained a blockade on popular international sites such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. However, people get around it by purchasing access to a VPN which allows users to create a private pipeline to the internet, thereby bypassing China's online censors.
Astrill, one of the more popular VPN providers in China, tweeted that VPN usage on Apple devices was being blocked "in almost real-time" due to increased censorship in China. However, it added, "We know how access to unrestricted internet is important to you, so our fight with Chinese censors is not over."
The company expects a new, working iOS application to be available by the end of next week.
Sunday Yokubaitis, president of Golden Frog, a VPN popular in China, said that government has been attempting to curtail the use of VPNs for a couple of years but the recent blockade is "more sophisticated" that what has been witnessed in the past.
The blockade does not mean that everyone in China will be unable to access the internet fully.