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Wu Xiangyang has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for selling a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass the Great Firewall, according to the South China Morning Post. The man, from Guangxi autonomous region in Southern China, is also reported to have been fined 500,000 RMB in Pingnan county for not having the proper licence for his VPN business.


Wu marketed his services on his own website, Taobao and other social media sites and is said to have brought in 792,638 RMB in revunue with 500,000 in "illegal" profits from his business; which ran from 2013 to June of this year.


Wu's fine and prison term is heftier than those given to Deng Jiewei, who was sentenced earlier this year to nine months in prison after reportedly having earned just 14,000 yuan in profits from his VPN business.


Despite the clampdown on VPN providers, it is not illegal for businesses to sell VPN software in China if they are registered to do so. Despite that, some domestic VPN providers; such as GreenVPN and Haibei VPN, has ceased operating anyway.


VPN users may possibly also be targeted as Chongqing’s government issued regulations earlier this year allowing for fines of up to 15,000 yuan for using “illegal channels” to circumvent China's internet restrictions.


Reference: Man jailed 5½ years, fined US$76,000 for selling VPN in southern China (VPN required to view)


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