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Hong Kong Protests-Related Website Says User Access Blocked

Hong Kong Protests-Related Website Says User Access Blocked

A Hong Kong website that publishes material primarily related to the 2019 anti-government protests said the city's Internet Service Providers (ISPs) had blocked their users' access.

The website, HKChronicles, said it began receiving reports from Hong Kong-based users saying they could no longer access the site as of Wednesday night.

"After discussing and investigating with our followers, we discovered that some Hong Kong ISPs had deliberately cut off any connection to our servers, so the user could not receive responses from our servers, resulting in the inability to access our content "said the editor-in-chief. Naomi Chan said in a statement.

The South China Morning Post, citing unidentified sources, said on Sunday that Hong Kong police had invoked the city's national security law for the first time to block HKChronicles.

The police force had started asking ISPs to stop access, citing article 43 of the law, the newspaper reported.

Hong Kong police said they could not comment on individual cases. The city government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under controversial legislation imposed on the Chinese-ruled city in June, the police can request service providers to restrict access to platforms or electronic messages that could pose a threat to national security.

HKChronicles said that according to user reports, ISPs suspected of being involved in the blockade include Smartone, China Mobile Hong Kong, PCCW "and others." He did not elaborate.

China Mobile, Smartone and PCCW did not respond to requests for comment.

The security law punishes what China broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life imprisonment.

The Hong Kong and Beijing governments say it is vital to plug holes in national security defenses exposed by months of sometimes violent anti-government and anti-China protests that rocked the global financial center in 2019.

Hong Kong police arrested 53 people in morning raids on democracy activists on Wednesday, in the biggest crackdown since China imposed the security law. The arrests have raised the alarm that Hong Kong has taken a quick authoritarian turn.

"I think that at the moment many users are being affected, but few websites are affected. It seems that it is a test of technology, to test the influence of website blocking throughout the Hong Kong network," Chan told Reuters through the social media platform Telegram. .

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