China's cyber regulators have denied they have given a company green light to sell VPN services in the nation, stating it was "fake information."
Rumors circulating online recently claimed that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) had given Chuanglian VPN a permit to operate in China. The ministry said on its website on Friday that the reports were untrue.
Reports had claimed that Chuanglian said it was granted the MIIT permit, and had branded itself as the first in China to obtain a license to sell VPN services, news site thepaper.cn reported.
Pictures showing the MIIT giving the permit to Chuanglian were posted online with the reports, but the ministry said the photos were fabricated.
The rumor came days after several VPN services, including the popular Green VPN, shut down their services since July.
Another VPN service provider, VTRSpeed, announced on its website on June 16 that the company's IP addresses are facing a new round of blocks, with many IP addresses in the U.S. and Hong Kong not accessible from the Chinese mainland.
The MIIT said in January that it will regulate the Internet services sector by clearing out illegal activities such as unlicensed business operations beyond their scope in the Internet Data Center, Internet Service Provider and Content Delivery Network service businesses, ending in March 2018.
Without approval, all basic telecommunication companies and Internet access service providers are barred from setting up or renting special lines (including VPNs) to carry out cross-border operations.