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Amazon's China cloud business bows to censorship

Beijing Sinnet Technology Co. Ltd., operator of Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Web Services in China, said it ordered its local clients to stop using software that would allow Chinese consumers to bypass the country's internet restrictions, The New York Times reported Aug. 1.

Amazon.com's cloud business in China joined Apple Inc. in bowing down to an increased push by the Chinese government to block access to software that circumvents Chinese censors. Apple recently removed anti-censorship applications from its App store saying that it was "required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations."

Amazon cloud services' Chinese operator reportedly sent a round of emails to its customers on July 28 and another round on July 31 to advise them on the matter.

"If users don't comply with the guidance, the offered services and their websites can be shut down," The New York Times reported, citing a woman, surnamed Wang, who answered a Sinnet service hotline. She added that operators also routinely check whether any of their users are using such software or are storing illegal content.

According to Wang, recent guidance from China's Ministry of Public Security and the country's telecom regulator prompted the company to send the letter to its clients.

China has stepped up its crackdown on online platforms in recent months. Recently, the country ordered state-run telcos to prevent individuals from using virtual private networks by Feb. 1, 2018.

Meanwhile, local tech and media companies were forced to remove nearly 300 online video platforms from app stores and fire nearly 10,000 broadcast journalists and performers following pressure from the government.