Beijing has decided that the Great Firewall cannot be scaled. The barrier, posed to protect the country, is sacred and unassailable; it cannot be perforated, trespassed, nor ignored. This is the feeling surrounding the unanticipated and clamorous prohibition of virtual private networks (VPNs) in China. So, private connections—a fee-based but affordable service—that allowed users to visit the most famous sites or entertain conversations with social media have been forbidden. Through the use of an enlarged network, people could access Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Times, whose websites are not allowed in China. VPNs were a form of safe and economical business for many small and medium enterprises. Furthermore, they represented the best source of information for foreigners, Chinese with international experience, and the intellectually curious. Together, they represent a small minority compared to the 650 million Internet users who traditionally prefer websites and personal communication in Chinese. The government intervened to block the gray area that allowed people to access the most prohibited sites, a well-known but tolerated secret until now. Without the possibility of exceptions, a ministerial spokesperson affirmed “the laws regulating Internet usage in China must be respected.” You don’t have to be sophisticated to analyze Beijing’s choice. It’s a matter of pure and hard restrictions that open the road for repressing illegal Internet use. It’s the latest in a string of actions that attempt to gag free information and the circulation of ideas. It demonstrates adherence with censure, restrictions, and more generally the repression of dissent. It aligns with the past at a time when China needs to manage the future. This is probably the problem to solve, the question to ask: why did China choose such an anachronistic solution that doesn’t favor the business world and dents international sympathy? What dangers do VPNs pose? What is the reason for making Golden Frog, Astrill, and StrongVPN (the most used vehicles) into champions of freedom when they were previously unknown to the greater public? The decision will likely prove ineffective because information technology is stronger than restrictions and will find other solutions. If not stupidity, Beijing’s decision seems inspired by fear, fear of the future and contamination from foreigners. Chinese history is teeming with analogous decisions. China folds in on itself when it’s weak; it protects itself when it lacks instruments for intercepting progress. In 1793, Emperor Qian Long indignantly refused any contact with Great Britain who offered—certainly with interests—the products of the industrial revolution. China did not negotiate opening trade and cultural exchanges, and retreated to defend its own originality. History remembers that the emperor delayed the collapse. Only a few decades later, a declining and self-sufficient China was easy prey for colonial powers. Today, this danger is not in sight, but the same level of distrust and inability to manage complex situations remains. China is big, powerful and strong; it should be mature enough not to transform VPNs into threats to national security.