Many providers of virtual private network services resolved to shutter their Hong Kong servers following the enactment of a controversial security law that essentially guttered the autonomous status of the former British colony.
While recent global developments drew attention away from the Far Eastern protests, the national security law passed by Hong Kong legislators hasn’t gone away. If anything, the bleak reality it fuels is only now settling in. A significant number of VPN companies decided to abandon their local server farms in response to the development, which is as much of an act of protest as it is a common-sense business decision. Namely, if you’re in the business of selling privacy, you probably shouldn’t be doing so via servers that the Chinese Communist Party can disassemble at any point and monitor in real time.
It’s worth noting that for every TunnelBear and PIA who shut down their Hong Kong VPN servers, there’s ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN who didn’t. Instead, the latter bunch are now simply labeling their Hong Kong nodes as high-risk tunneling options, which makes about as much sense as selling spoiled groceries with a designation saying you it’s risky to eat them. Just to be clear: do not connect to any VPN servers located in Hong Kong with any expectation of privacy – there is none.
Naturally, legitimate VPN companies are still offering their services in Hong Kong, using infrastructure outside of China, but don’t get too comfortable with any such service in particular given how legitimate VPNs are technically illegal in China as of recently and only companies with local infrastructure who play ball with the CCP in order to register as an authorized VPN provider in China are allowed to operate uninhibited. Naturally, stay away from them, as well.