An African man uses a laptop (AFP / BBC.co.uk) A report by Bloomberg says the government has given a deadline of February 2018 to telecommunications carriers in the country to block access to virtual private networks (VPN). The new directive will block global access to free internet in the country. China has one of the world’s most restrictive internet access, which is severely regulated active by government employees. (China Daily Mail) If Chinese state-run telecommunications firms, which include China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, abide by the new directive, they will bar people from using VPNs. In accordance with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “cyber sovereignty” campaign, China has one of the world’s most restrictive internet access, which is severely regulated active by government employees. According to President Jinping, his tightly policed internet regime will preserve a social stability in the country. Currently, millions of people, including many Africans, use VPN technology to circumvent China’s censorship system, known as the Great Firewall. Speaking to Business Insider SSA, some Africans have expressed concern that they might be put out of touch with family members living in China when the new law goes into play. A Togolese, Herman Dzigbodi told Business Insider SSA, “When this is implemented it will be very hard for the thousands of Africans who do business and school in China.” “I lived in the country for almost a decade and VPN’s allowed me to stay in touch with my family via Facebook. Its not like a phone call you know”, he added. On how this might affect international business in China, Ako Rajour, a former student at Xiamen Daxue said, “I think the businessmen might even suffer the most.Some require it to check mails and other aspects of their business. It will be a huge headache.” The new directive will block global access to free internet in China (ChinaDaily) But the new order will create a total shutdown in access to websites likes, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Without a working VPN, services like the video chat apps, Skype and Viber, which is used widely by Africans, do not work as efficiently as expected. Originally published at www.businessinsider.com on July 12, 2017.