The BBC website has been blocked by China as clashes in Hong Kong escalate. This week, unrest between pro-democracy protestors and law enforcement officials in Hong Kong has intensified. However, according to a British news outlet, the blocking of the BBC site by China is nothing more than a deliberate form of censorship.
BBC, the English-language website, was blocked by the Chinese Communist Party yesterday and as of today, it is still inaccessible. According to Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service Group, China’s attempt to restrict free access to information and news is strongly condemned.
However, when asked if BBC’s website had or had not been blocked, the only response from Hong Lei, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry was that the country thoroughly enjoyed full internet freedom. He added that the Chinese government manages the internet to comply with the law.
In a statement made earlier this week, a Chinese official suggested that certain members of the foreign media were not objective when reporting the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and they should.
This official went on to say that the Chinese government hopes the outside world will show respect as Hong Kong’s government, which serves as the Special Administrative Region of the country, tries to handle the situation in accordance with the law. He also said that no wrong signals would be sent pertaining to the unlawful activity occurring.
BBC reported yesterday that an official investigation has been launched in Hong Kong pertaining to allegations that police officers were using excessive force in controlling the pro-democracy protestors. According to BBC, video of a protester being beaten and kicked by several officers had been captured, as well as pepper spray and batons being used.
Censorship in the form of China shutting down the BBC site has happened before. In 2012 around the time that Chen Guangeheng, a Chinese activist, escaped from house arrest, the website was disrupted. BBC was also blocked in 2010, just days prior to and after the Nobel Peace Prize aware ceremony for the Chinese rebel Liu Xiaobo.