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Charity’s Hong Kong Watch website is blocked in Hong Kong • The Register

The website of UK-registered charity Hong Kong Watch – an organization dedicated to researching and monitoring threats to the territory’s promised freedom and autonomy – has suddenly become impossible to reach from Hong Kong .

The charity released news of the alleged DNS blocking and tampering on Monday.

A friend of The register in Hong Kong, who asked not to be named, were unable to visit the site and sent us a screenshot showing their attempts to do so.

Click to enlarge

An individual described by Hong Kong Watch as an “internet freedom expert” claimed via Twitter that the tampering was done at the behest of pro-Beijing authorities in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Watch CEO and former resident – ​​now banned – Benedict Rogers said:

Rogers said Hong Kong’s future as a financial center depends on its access to information, so any restriction on the internet threatens the territory’s economy as well as residents’ freedoms.

The charity is not the only one to find itself banned from the territory it aims to serve. Other websites already blocked include HKChronicles, Transitional Justice Commission and HK Charter 2021.

Telecom network Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) has readily admitted to censoring websites under national security law in the past.

The law came into force in June 2020 and strengthened government control over education, traditional media and social media. Although it is inapplicable outside of Hong Kong, it is enforced across the planet – including those who don’t live in Hong Kong – with bans like this.

The law criminalizes any act of secession, subversion, terrorism or foreign collusion linked to Hong Kong and has been called “dangerously vague and broad” by Amnesty International. The human rights organization also said the law had an immediate effect on people, as many Hong Kongers began censoring themselves online and public libraries began removing books on sensitive topics. so as not to attract the attention or anger of the authorities.

In July 2021, the United States issued an advisory warning companies of warrantless surveillance and the potential for the forced handover of company and customer data in the region.

The political crackdown has seen the region see a 1.2% year-on-year population decrease in mid-2021 – the biggest drop in 60 years.

Steven Okun, senior adviser and China expert at international trade consultancy McLarty Associates, recently described a mass exodus of businesses from Hong Kong on the Singapore-based MoneyFM radio show.

Youtube video

“The exodus from Hong Kong to Singapore is well underway,” Okun said, referring to both individuals and businesses. He described Hong Kong as a transition from a global hub to a Chinese city.

“It’s not a Western phenomenon,” he added. “You have Chinese companies that need to have a global presence in Singapore, just like Western companies.” ®