TL;DR As of August 15, 2018, we sell only proxy services in China, not VPN. Available services are HTTP/HTTPS proxy servers, SSL proxy servers, and SOCKS5. This goes against our core values of uncensoring the internet, but two of our employees are at risk.
Normally in a blog post, we come at you with a little snark and a bit of humor. That’s not going to happen this time around, because the topic deserves a serious tone.
A Statement from FoxyProxy on Censorship
Internet censorship is something that many people are aware of, but haven’t directly experienced for themselves. For some, it’s limited to the annoyance of geo-location blocks keeping them from watching their favorite foreign shows or keeping up with sports teams back home.
However, censorship goes so much further than that, and has real world consequences for many.
A year ago, in August 2017, China announced a ban on VPN companies selling VPN service. Enforcement was to begin in February 2018. At FoxyProxy, we weren’t immediately affected, even though others were arrested and even sentenced to 9 months in prison: it seemed like enforcement would focus on Chinese developers of VPN mobile apps intended for the domestic Chinese market.
Earlier this week, one of our vendors had their office raided by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) after the CAC detected VPN services on servers hosted by that vendor.
The office was raided, the servers were taken, business shuttered, and the owners are being interrogated and charged.
One of our employees is a Chinese national living in America who, along with another employee, makes yearly trips to visit family back home. A recent trip included a visit to the office of the now defunct vendor, where tea and hospitality was enjoyed.
Our employees are now wondering – will they be able to visit home again? Will they be detained or questioned by Chinese immigation? Will their family be harassed by authorities? These are all very real questions being faced.
We must do everything to protect our employees, even when it goes against our core mission to provide uncensored internet across the globe.
We have other vendors in China. We received a notice from one of them yesterday, warning us to disable VPN services on our servers. It’s unclear why this vendor was not harassed to same extent by the CAC.
In any case, we have decided to discontinue VPN services in China at this time, as the risks are too great to real life people involved. Hopefully this is just a temporary setback, and if things go well we will be able to provide VPN service again. Proxy services in China are unaffected. As usual, we will continue to offer HTTP/HTTPS proxy servers, SSL proxy servers, and SOCKS5 proxy service in China. Such service is not illegal in China.
We are offering pro-rated refunds or credit to anyone with FoxyProxy VPN service in China who does not want to use proxy services. Thank you for understanding – please wish luck to our Chinese American employees and the affected vendor.