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China orders telcoms to block individual access to VPNs, says report

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Internet controls in China are about to get even more restrictive. The government there has ordered telecommunications firms to bar the usage of Virtual Private Networks by February 1, 2018, according to a Bloomberg report, citing sources close to the matter.

VPNs provide a secure encrypted connection, which China's government says allows users to circumvent censorship restrictions. China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom are the state-run telecom companies to receive the government directive, according to the report.

A spokesperson from China Telecom, denied the claim, saying "the company has not received any notice from the government on this regard."

However, the change would be in line with China's strict internet policies and President Xi Jinping's 'Great Firewall,' a system to control web access. Xi has made China's "cyber sovereignty" a top priority and has also told the media its coverage should follow the party line and promote "positive propaganda," according to Reuters.

A ban on VPNs would make it nearly impossible for individuals in the country to access unfiltered web content from sources abroad including Facebook, Twitter and news outlets like the New York Times.

China Mobile, China Unicom and the Ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

Read the entire report.