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

Chantel McGee
The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between the U.S. and China.

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.

The change is in line with China's strict internet policies and President Xi Jinping's 'Great Firewall,' a system to control internet 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.

The change will 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 Telecom, China Unicom and the Ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Read the entire report.