The use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to get around China’s internet censorship came under increased scrutiny in 2017, and while officials have denied a complete block on the services, a recent case from Guangxi highlights the perils of unauthorized trafficking in access to information.
- Wu Xiangyang 吴向阳 received a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence and a 500,000 yuan ($76,000) fine for selling VPNs since 2013 without a proper license, the South China Morning Post reports, citing the Chinese-language Procuratorate Daily.
- It’s a much more severe punishment than that handed down in another illegal VPN case earlier this year. In that case, the defendant Deng Jiewei 邓杰伟 was sentenced to nine months in prison. Profit may at least partly explain the difference: Wu was reported to have made more than 500,000 yuan from his VPN business, compared with the 14,000 yuan earned by Deng.
- For more on China’s tightening control over cyberspace, listen to this Sinica podcast from September featuring Adam Segal of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Beijing influence in Canada: education
As Canadian public schools look to Asia for cash, Chinese authority plans school in B.C. / The Globe and Mail
“One Chinese authority is publicly seeking to open its own school in British Columbia, sparking concerns over Beijing’s intentions in expanding its presence – and political agenda – overseas.”
Beijing soft power in America
China’s flagship TV network hasn’t registered as a foreign agent / Foreign Policy (paywall)
Declassified: Chinese official said at least 10,000 civilians died in 1989 Tiananmen massacre, documents show / Hong Kong Free Press
An unnamed member of China’s State Council gave the estimate to a source who then passed the information to Alan Donald, the British Ambassador to China at the time, according to documents recently declassified by the U.K. National Archives.
How I almost became a Chinese spy – reflections on China’s Age of Anxiety / Australian Financial Review (paywall)
“The offer to become a Chinese spy was made over a lunch of Sichuan fish, spicy tofu and stir-fried green beans. It was September 2013 and the trade was to be a simple one — money in exchange for information.”
China inflicted a world of pain on South Korea in 2017 / Quartz
What happened on China’s New Silk Road in 2017 / Forbes