Apple removes VPN Apps from China App Store

Despite Apple’s decision to side with censorship, ExpressVPN remains committed to an open internet worldwide.

BREAKING NEWS

We received notification from Apple today, July 29, 2017, at roughly 04:00 GMT, that the ExpressVPN iOS app was removed from the China App Store. Our preliminary research indicates that all major VPN apps for iOS have been removed.

Users in China accessing a different territory’s App Store (i.e. they have indicated their billing address to be outside of China) are not impacted; they can download the iOS app and continue to receive updates as before.

While Apple’s decision is surprising and unfortunate, it does not change ExpressVPN’s commitment to keeping you securely and reliably connected. Our support team stands ready 24/7, including via live chat, to help any impacted users.

We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts. ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties.

Users in China can continue to stay connected to the open internet with ExpressVPN’s apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and other platforms.

Our commitment to an open and free internet remains stronger than ever, and we will continue the fight in helping our users to stay connected, no matter where they are located.

Screenshot of the notification ExpressVPN received from Apple about the removal of ExpressVPN's iOS app from the China App Store.
Screenshot of the notification ExpressVPN received from Apple about the removal of ExpressVPN’s iOS app from the China App Store.

For help on how to use ExpressVPN in China, contact support or try the troubleshooting links below:


Also published on Medium.

37 COMMENTS

  1. Apple wouldn’t like to repeat the nightmare of Google suffered in China many years ago ….. because
    he got too many iphone 8 to sell to this biggest market this month ..

  2. It’s no good winging about China they like any other country have rules and regulations just remember its China who is trying to help the world recover from global recession!

  3. I saw some links for bypassing this by setting up an account with None as your payment method and America as your Apple Store. Sounds easy, butt… Actually I am finding that for myself, living inside China, setting up a new account linked to the US store is not that easy. I tried just removing billing information from my current and that will not work. Changing to None. Then I tried the steps for setting up a new account linking to an American store, but they will want a phone number, an American phone number. Mobile phone I assume. I do not have an American mobile phone number.

    Since I already have Express VPN I guess I can just never update it or if some issue arises where I have to have a new app I am screwed.

  4. Not only the apps were removed, but also the “VPNs”. Tried search ExpressVpn on Baidu (Chinese version of Google), only 2 results showed. Seems like we(Chinese) will be soon on another side of the world. There is absolutely no comparison between Trump’s wall and this Great FireWall.

    Lucky, my VPN still works, so I can stay in touch with guys for one more second maybe?

    “Goodbye, my lover; goodbye World Village!”

    • Goodbye, world village, indeed! Thank goodness, I made my friends and family all get WeChat and Weibo accounts. Now, if we can get everyone else to switch over…oh.

      Oh well. 中国有中国菜。美国有Trump。现在我要去学习汉语。

      Goodbye World Village, hello neighbors. Let’s cry together. Cry cry.

  5. It would be very helpful if ExpressVPN could release a tutorial telling users in China how to download ExpressVPN APP from non-China region APP Store, as Jeffery suggested.

  6. Stupid advertising is at the real heart of this. The Internet as a whole has reshaped the world, but America and its cultural Imperialism are unwelcome. Buy on TaoBao not Amazon, post on Weibo not FB and use Baidu not Google for search.

    An underground movement of vast millions that simply unplugged for a week would send the clearest message. Either open up or we will as a whole population disconnect. Power to the underdogs everywhere.

    • And I suppose Nationalism is at the heart of this comment. Google > Baidu. Taobo is much safer to shop on than amazon, and…well Weibo and FB both suck.

  7. @Jeffrey: I think that you need a US based payment method to sign up with the US app store.
    The need for ordinary Chinese people to have VPN access to the other side of the Great Firewall is greatly exaggerated.
    I have used ExpressVPN for years now because I want to use FB and Youtube, but that is because I am a Laowai.
    Chinese people are happy with their own SoMe apps and video services. Most people here don’t speak English, so the lack of FB isn’t a big deal for most people.
    The younger generation is more interested being connected with the Western SoMe apps.
    My ExpressVPN came from the US all store, so I don’t have any problems. The PC version is still available for download.
    Chinese made VPN apps seem to be available in the Chinese app store. Just checked on my wife’s phone. They are probably under govt. monitoring though.

    Have to remember that VPN is not required to get to the outside world from here. MSN, CNN, FOX News, BBC, NFL and most everything else is freely available. Anything Google related requires VPN as does SoMe apps and “pron” if that is your thing.

    I found out about this from People’s Daily web site 🙂 http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0730/c90000-9248459.html
    You can comment on the articles, but only if your IP Address is outside of China i.e. VPN needed.

    BTW, a VPN is not the only way to “skin the cat”. I don’t want to get into the details here partly because it this is ExpressVPN’s web site and I want to respect their rights and partly because “the big brother might be watching”, but with moderate IT skills you can go around pretty much anything.

  8. Don’t you know that Apple has moved its database of Chinese users back in China? So Apple basically has zero power to stop Chinese government to do what they want. The best solution now is buying a VPS and build a SSR yourself, which can be encrypted and of highest level of security.

  9. Because most people in China is stupid, their minds only living in China, not the world. Smart people already left or planning to leave, unless you like Tim Cook, needs to make money in that fucking place. There are no real laws in China, only orders.

    • Thats it.Chinese government is making us blind.Im one of the sucked Chinese.I really wanna get my civil liberties back

    • Stop your stupid comments on Chinese, otherwise you will make yourself a show of fool. Think about the big idea of globalization while the world has been connected into one. It is true that Chinese government is taking different strategies, but no one is at the position abusing another government or its people. China would not come to today’s prosperity had it not been following its own special rules and policies, cooperating with other countries, being supported by the rest of the world. China can never be understood by those narrow-minded or no brain people.

      • Not abusing it’s people?? Restricting speech, censoring everything, and jailing/kidnapping dissidents are all actions of a government that cares more about it’s controlling political agenda than it’s own citizens. Obviously, no country is perfect, but jailing people for speaking their mind is not a valid “different strategy.”

        I would use the word complacent rather than stupid. I know many smart Chinese people, but they seem to just accept the closed world that is China – unfortunately, this complacency is even more dangerous than stupidity.

  10. How does this stop anybody from making a US apple id and downloading the apps? I will never understand China’s stupidness.

      • Yes, you are right. It is not stupidness at all. It is rather insidious and authoritarian in an absolute Orwellian sense. It is not really possible to set up an Apple Store account with billing information outside China unless you have that billing information outside China. In other words, you need a credit card, debit card or PayPal account connected to, let’s say, an American bank. A small percentage of people in China have that. Chinese people typically do not and most foreigners who have been in China for many years most likely no longer do. It is rather sad because many people, like myself, thought about ten years that China would be opening up more and more, and the reverse is coming true.

        Another commenter wrote how blocking VPNs does not affect or bother most Chinese people. That they do not even read English or care about anything outside China. Sadly this this true. But why close the doors more and more. Why not allow Chinese people the choice to use FB or to not use it. Most college students in the big cities here actually do have FB and Instagram accounts. They learn about them by traveling or from friends who have traveled abroad. They love it. FB has language options for its content. Why not let markets decide one could ask, but it is not a situation like that in China. China decided what the market will be and then people just have to deal with it.

        • The reason for China’s censorship is very obvious, they don’t want their currently complacent citizens, uhh drones, to Google things like Tiananmen Square.

    • 中国还没有能力封锁VPN,也没有办法让全世界都禁止VPN。所以威胁苹果(就像当年威胁谷歌一样)是他唯一的手段。

      • Recent rumors about the whitelist are not from nowhere. Moreover, some said the authority has prepared for the coming economic loss due to harsher Internet control on both domestic and international contents.

    • Pamphlets are powerful, political thesis are not.
      The idea is to raise the cost of information to a high enough level, that the cost out weight the benefit for most ordinary citizens, and only a few would bother. And those few can be easily identified and silenced.

    • They can block IP address of other app stores abroad, just like what they have done before Apple set up image servers inside China.

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