Several major VPN service providers reported that the Great Firewall internet filter was causing increased difficulties for their users in China on October 30th, 2018.
ExpressVPN, one of the most popular VPNs used by residents in China, sent out an email alert to their users to inform them of the outage while their engineers worked on a solution to restore service. A China VPN service status page can be found here
VPNs (virtual private networks) are widely used in China to circumvent the heavy internet censorship in the country that blocks most foreign social media, news, and search engine.
While most basic VPN services are blocked in the country, a select few providers that employ advanced anti-censorship technology are still effective at bypassing. However, from time to time these services suffer VPN crackdowns that usually occur around politically sensitive times such as the Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing.
This most recent VPN crackdown by the Chinese authorities comes before President Xi is due to attend a major trade fair in Shanghai and the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China. VPN crackdowns are also thought to be routine tests or upgrades of the Great Firewall technology.