HONG KONG, Jan 10 (Reuters) - A Hong Kong website that
publishes material mainly related to anti-government protests in
2019 said its users' access had been blocked by the city's
internet service providers (ISPs).
The website, HKChronicles, said it began receiving reports
from Hong Kong-based users saying they could no longer access
the site since Wednesday evening.
"After discussing and investigating with our supporters, we
found that some ISPs of Hong Kong have deliberately dropped any
connection to our servers, so that the user could not receive
replies from our servers, resulting in an inability to access
our content," chief editor Naomi Chan said in a statement.
The South China Morning Post, citing unnamed 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 halt access,
citing Article 43 of the law, the newspaper reported.
The Hong Kong police said they could not comment on
individual cases. The citys government did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.
Under the controversial legislation imposed on the
Chinese-ruled city in June, the police can request service
providers to restrict access to electronic platforms or messages
that could pose a threat to national security.
HKChronicles said that based on reports from users, the ISPs
suspected of being involved in the blocking included Smartone
, China Mobile Hong Kong, PCCW "and
others". It did not elaborate.
China Mobile, Smartone, and PCCW did not respond to requests
The security law punishes what China broadly defines as
secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign
forces with up to life in jail.
The Hong Kong and Beijing governments say it is vital to
plug holes in national security defences exposed by months of
sometimes violent anti-government and anti-China protests that
rocked the global financial hub in 2019.
Hong Kong police arrested 53 people in dawn raids on
democracy activists on Wednesday, in the biggest crackdown since
China imposed the security law. The arrests have raised alarm
that Hong Kong has taken a swift authoritarian turn.
"I think right now many users are being affected, but few
websites are being affected. It seems like it's a technology
test, to test the influence of blocking websites to the entire
Hong Kong network," Chan told Reuters via the social media
(Reporting by Jessie Pang and Donny Kwok; Editing by Anne Marie
Roantree and William Mallard)