It is no secret that when it comes to controlling what goes in and out of the China, the government can be pretty strict and heavy handed with its censorship and regulations. So much so that last we heard, they wanted to create their own secure smartphone built entirely from components and software made in China so as to prevent any potential backdoors from the Western world.
Now according to a report from the New York Times, it looks like the government has started to clamp down on phones using foreign messaging apps. This was first reported in China’s Xinjiang territory where users running apps like WhatsApp have received text messages that read, “Due to police notice, we will shut down your cellphone number within the next two hours in accordance with the law. If you have any questions, please consult the cyberpolice affiliated with the police station in your vicinity as soon as possible.”
Now if you think that a VPN will let you get around China’s laws, think again because it seems that the government has also started to shutdown VPNs, or more specifically are shutting down VPNs that aren’t registered with the proper identification. It is unclear how widespread this shutting down of apps is, but this is definitely not the first time.
Last year during the Hong Kong protests, China blocked apps like Instagram to prevent mainland China citizens from seeing images from the protest. There have also been rumors that due to China’s regulations that Google’s relaunch of the Play Store in the country might exist completely separate from the current one.