China's government has reportedly told telecommunications carriers to block individuals' access to virtual private networks by Feb. 1, tightening web controls enforced by the "Great Firewall".
Bloomberg reports that Beijing has ordered state-run telecommunications firms, which include China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, to bar people from using VPNs. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are services that skirt censorship by routing web traffic abroad. Currently, companies operating on Chinese soil can use leased lines to access the international web but must register their usage of such services for the record.
In keeping with President Xi Jinping's "cyber sovereignty" campaign, the Chinese government appears to be cracking down on loopholes around the Great Firewall, a system that blocks foreign information sources from Twitter and Facebook to news websites.