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Hong Kong internet firm blocked website over security law

HONG KONG - A Hong Kong internet service provider on Thursday said it had blocked access to a pro-democracy website to comply with the city’s national security law.

In a statement emailed on Thursday, Hong Kong Broadband Network said that it had disabled access to HKChronicles, a website which compiled information on “yellow” shops that had supported the city’s pro-democracy movement and released personal information and pictures of police and pro-Beijing supporters as part of a doxxing effort during anti-government protests in 2019.

“We have disabled the access to the website in compliance with the requirement issued under the National Security Law. The action was taken on 13 Jan PM,” the company said.

The chief editor of the site, Naomi Chan, said in a post last week that users in Hong Kong reported the site as inaccessible. Chan accused telecoms companies such as SmarTone, China Mobile Hong Kong, PCCW and Hong Kong Broadband Network of blocking the website.

China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone did not immediately comment. A PCCW spokesman said it had no comment on the matter.

“Naomi Chan hereby denounces ISPs that co-operate with the Chinese and Hong Kong government to restrict the citizens’ right and freedom to access information,” Chan said in a post on HKChronicles dated Jan. 7.

Chan advised Hong Kongers to “make early preparations to counter future Internet blockage at a larger scale, and to face the darkness before dawn.”

The move to block HKChronicles has intensified concerns that Beijing is asserting more control over the city and breaking its promise of letting the former British colony maintain separate civil rights and political systems for 50 years after the communist-ruled mainland took over in 1997.
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