Thousands Of Indians Still Use Chinese Apps With VPN, Despite Govt Ban

Last year we saw the Indian government ban several popular Chinese apps including those that were fairly loved by many including TikTok, PUBG and several others after a border dispute between the nations along with the fear of tracking user data for users in India and considering it a threat to its sovereignty.

Reuters

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However, while many ranted and eventually shifted to alternatives that could quench their thirst, many tech-savvy individuals used the VPN route to gain access to their beloved apps.

What is VPN?

VPN (also known as Virtual Private Network) creates a secure connection between you and the internet service provider where your traffic gets routed through an encrypted channel. It hides your IP address like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak and does not allow any app to see its real location.

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Also Read: Chinese Apps Ban: What It Means For India, And Will It Even Work?

To explain in a simpler way, the VPN app allows users to simulate their network to a different geographical location while hiding their identity. Basically, even though you’re in India, using VPN you can let the website know that you’re actually from the US, allowing you to see content that would otherwise only be permitted to be visible in that territory. 

PUBG Players Continued Using VPN

Gamers continued to play PUBG Mobile on their smartphone by sideloading the app (on an Android phone) and using VPN in case the Indian network didn’t allow connections with data servers. Sure it meant slower pings and at times a little janky internet connection, but they were easily able to get their fix.

And while many might be thinking that such bans only affected the way people entertained themselves (with TikTok and PUBG), there were also many who had their work impacted, and this included students remotely studying from Chinese educational institutions. 

Also Read: Users Say Reliance Jio Is Blocking Access To VPN Services In Opposition Of Net Neutrality

Students using Chinese apps despite ban

According to a TOI report, there are over 23,000 students (20,000 of these are medical students) who were adversely affected by the ban on Chinese apps as most universities were using these Chinese apps for conducting live classes as well as communicating curriculum updates with them.

These students belong to the Indian Students in China. According to one student from Soochow University, the institution used WeChat for attending live classes for remote students. However, when WeChat got banned, the institution shifted to DingTalk. However, soon after, even DingTalk got banned. 

The students were then forced to use VPN to keep attending their sessions, but as you might have guessed, VPN isn’t the most effective and a slow internet connection only makes things worse. 

Also Read: Boycott China? 52 Chinese Apps To Be Blocked, Indian Intelligence Agencies Warn

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Another student from Vadodara who is also the national coordinator of ISC added that network issues led to a ton of disturbance with students unable to understand even the most basic terminologies. 

These students have paid around three to four lakhs each in tuition fees and due to the pandemic situation, travelling to China isn’t an option for them either. 

Organisations in India are trying to raise awareness on these issues with authorities. Manish Kapadiya, a member of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce (SGCCI) said in a statement, “On behalf of Gujarat students, I and some others are trying to arrange a meeting with ministers in the central government to discuss the issues of these students.”