SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese Communist Party censors have blocked the website of Britain’s national broadcaster, the BBC said in a statement, as tensions rise in Hong Kong between pro-democracy protesters and police.
The broadcaster said that the move seemed to be “deliberate censorship”. It did not say what may have prompted the move by Beijing, which also blocks the websites of the New York Times, newswire Bloomberg and the BBC’s Chinese-language website.
“The BBC strongly condemns any attempts to restrict free access to news and information and we are protesting to the Chinese authorities. This appears to be deliberate censorship,” said Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service Group.
The BBC’s English-language website was still inaccessible in China on Thursday.
Asked whether the site had been blocked, Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said that China enjoyed “full internet freedom”.
“At the same time, the Chinese government manages the internet in accordance with the law,” he added.
In Hong Kong, police used pepper spray early on Thursday to stop pro-democracy protesters from blocking a major road near the office of the city’s embattled leader amid public anger over the police beating a protester a day earlier.