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Skype is illegal in China soon

December 31, 2010 – 2:16 pm

Based on this article by Shanghai Daily. It references some Xinhua article, but there is no link and I couldn’t find that Xinhua article.

To sum it up, the Chinese government has decided that VoIP (Voice over IP) applications are illegal. The only exception is, when these services are provided by China Telecom and China Uniom. There is no timetable when these new rules come into effect. Skype and other VoIP services like UUCall maybe have to close their China branches soon.

This reminds me of another law. People who do not have a Chinese passport are not allowed to have a GPS device while on Chinese soil. Only Chinese nationals can use GPS devices in China legally. For foreigners in China GPS is a no-go. Foreigners who intend to use mobile phones with GPS built in must register before bringing the device into China.

But we shouldn’t be unhappy. China Telecom and China Uniom will happily provide us with VoIP services. I’m certain they will also make sure our VoIP messages will be correct politically…. ehrm… I mean grammatically. Skype doesn’t support such functionality, yet.

China Telecom – 中国电信
China Unicom – 中国联通

Update 2011-01-09:
Seems like there was some misunderstanding. Some Chinese government spokesman said, that they will only crackdown on illegal VoIP business. The question when a VoIP business is illegal and when it’s not he didn’t answer.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Skype is illegal in China soon”

  2. I’ve read that they plan to ban English in newspapers.. what a glorious country.

    By My Kafkaesque life on Dec 31, 2010

  3. I better switch over to Taiwan. The only thing I dislike is, they still use the traditional characters. So difficult to learn :o

    By Hendrik on Dec 31, 2010

  4. great… again a comment was lost. Have to rewrite the whole thing again as for the server 10 + 6 doesn’t equal 16, obviously…

    Is the GPS policy really enforced or did they just use it for one US-guy who seemd to be a spy? I even ever asked a police man to show me a certain restaurant on my GPS mobile phone. I only got in troubles once when they forbid me to enter a military base because I’m a foreigner – but the only trouble was that I had to have dinner somewhere else…

    I don’t think the VoIP rule will really come into power… people just won’t support that.

    By Aremonus on Dec 31, 2010

  5. I don’t know what the inner circle of power in Beijing thinks, but I guess the GPS-law is a leftover from previous decades. Today no one really cares, but it is good to have a trump card to accuse a foreigner of some old law should there be need to do so.

    Agree, people will continue to use Skype and other VoIP services in some way, just as they continue to use Youtube or whatever webservice. Maybe it’s just some fantasy of some party cadre who wants to get promoted. Who knows…

    By Hendrik on Jan 1, 2011

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