onsdag 16. februar 2022

Fears of online censorship in Hong Kong as rights group website goes down

The website of a UK-based advocacy group appears to have become inaccessible through some networks in Hong Kong, raising fears of mainland-style internet censorship in the Chinese territory. The group, Hong Kong Watch, which monitors human rights, said it worried the censorship could be a part of a wider crackdown on freedom of speech under Hong Kong’s national security law, which allows the police to ask service providers to “delete” information or “provide assistance” on national security cases.

Beijing imposed the sweeping security law on Hong Kong in 2020 that punishes what authorities broadly define as subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism with up to life in jail. Opponents condemn the legislation as “draconian”, but the authorities say it is a necessary step in restoring the stability of the financial hub.

“If this is not just a technical malfunction, and Hongkongers will no longer be able to access our website because of the national security law, then this is a serious blow to internet freedom,” said Benedict Rogers, the group’s head.