The Chinese government has already started VPNs to prevent people from circumventing blocks to the open internet as the coronavirus spreads. The virus originated in Wuhan, which was hit the hardest by the outbreak. Taking things one step further, the government is throttling or outright disabling internet access in the most heavily impacted area to give themselves further control over the narrative.
The Quarantines and Restrictions in Wuhan
Wuhan is the origin of the epidemic, with more than 70% of all reported coronavirus cases beginning in the area. Wuhan’s neighborhoods are vulnerable, and the government is paying close attention. The government instituted a rule where only one person per household is allowed to leave their homes, as they seem to be of the belief that this would in some way prevent the spread of the virus. Much of the population of the region was relocated to quarantine centers. Some of these centers are based out of hospitals, and others are in large buildings that have been repurposed into makeshift hospitals.
The Jiangxia and Caidan districts of Wuhan are experiencing the most severe outbreaks. Resources are stressed thin, and residents who have been able to get information out of the country describe the state of quarantine areas to be poor. With resources stretched thin, pop up hospitals are dramatically understaffed and undersupplied. Food is scarce, and doctors do not have access to the proper tools to treat infected citizens.
Partially Disabled Internet
Residents began taking videos of the appalling state of affairs. Footage shows dirty, underequipped medical centers, astronomical prices for basic life staples like food and water, bodies of the deceased being removed from homes and quarantine centers, suicide attempts by infected individuals, and police removing people from their homes and forcing them to quarantine centers.
As the population began to gather evidence of the government’s mishandling of the virus, the internet began to shut off in Wuhan. The government uses loudspeakers incorporated into lamp posts to make important announcements, and on February tenth, those announcements began to state that the internet would be disconnected in the area.
From the tenth on, neighborhoods slowly began to lose home internet connection. Some residents find that they’re still able to access the censored Chinese internet from their smartphones.
Why Is the Government Disconnecting People?
The Chinese government claims, in essence, that there was too much misinformation about the coronavirus on the internet, and that said misinformation would hinder their ability to treat the sick and handle the epidemic. In areas where Chinese citizens can still access the internet, information about the coronavirus has been censored or removed. Instead, users can only find articles backed by the government stating that the virus is completely under control, even though they are contrary to the established facts.
Accessing the Internet in China
People in Wuhan are unable to utilize their home internet connections. Their phone internet connections are heavily censored, and when they do have access, they’re met with onslaughts of government sponsored articles that are lying to them about the severity of the outbreak. People in Wuhan need to know what’s going on in order to protect themselves and their families. Since the internet is censored and VPNs are being blocked, the only way to access the truth is via an unblockable stealth VPN on a smartphone. At the time of publication, TorGuard VPN is still working in all of China.