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Hong Kong: GFW in HK?

Categories: East Asia, Hong Kong (China), Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Technology

Soon after Mister Bijou [1] blogged about the suspected case of PCCW (the biggest telecom in HK and ISP netvigator) filtering out not the south china morning post website. The issue was taken up by ESWN [2] and spread to local blogsphere, and bloggers started to do their own testing and there are some confusions:

inmediahk.net [3] mobilizes its readers to test their ISP, some Netvigator customers managed to get through, many failed.

sfngan reports in his blog [4]:

我也試試到該網站去. 結果, 直接到不了, 只能通過上述的proxy繞過去—-可是, 我用的是香港寬頻. 難道香港寬頻也是超人天下?

若然這次網絡封殺事件屬實, 認真非同小可.

I tried to access the website, but failed, I could only access it via the proxy server — however my service provider is Hong Kong broadband network. Does the Li family also control the network?

If the story of this internet censorship is true, it is a very serious matter.

The Duke of Aberdeen [5] is confused about the situation, as he managed to access the website last night then failed again this morning.

Letters from China [6] finds out that apart from PCCW, HGC broadband customers also have problem in accessing the site, both companies belong to Li's family (Li Kar-shing and his son, Richard Li). The blogger writes with a sense of irony:

網上行與和記寬頻的光榮革命事跡,應該大力宣傳。同志們當投書電訊管理局,表揚李家對建構和諧社會的重大貢獻。

We should let more people know about such honorable conduct of Netivagtor and HGC broadband. Comrades, please write to Office of telecommunication authority to praise the contribution of Li family in the construction of harmonious society.

Sidekick [7] failed to access as well, and she is really angry:

我懷疑原來香港也有 GFW、censorship!!
管制我們的,並不是特區政府,而是比政府更惡的人。

I suspect that Hong Kong has GFW and censorship !!!
But the manager is not HKSAR government, but someone more powerful than the government.

我不理www.ntscmp.com網站內有甚麼內容!
就算它是一個三仔四仔人獸交快閃強姦黨大中華救國聯盟網站也好,作為一家ISP,如果你替我封掉它不讓我瀏覽就是你不對!

I don't care what's in the content of www.ntscmp.com.
Whether it is a website about categories 3 or 4 video, animal sex, flash mob rape, Chinese independent propaganda, as a ISP provider, it is wrong to block the website and stop me from getting access!

ESWN tries to clear up the confusion [8] in his latest update:

Now I am probably as confused as they are about what is happening. Let me put it this way, irrespective of the technical aspects. Here are the facts: If you are a Netvigator user, you may not be able to access the NTSCMP.com website. Why? This may be either because Netvigator blocked that website or because it was due to an upstream tecniical glitch beyond the control of Netvigator. But users of other Internet service providers do not seem to have such problems.

Given sufficient coverage of this story in the Hong Kong blogosphere (and I invite everybody to attempt the exercise to access NTSCMP.com and report the results), Netvigator will eventually have to respond to the public opinion wave (and I am sure that Apple Daily and others will pick this up if enough bloggers mention this issue). For one thing, Netivigator may claim that they did not ban NTSCMP.com and the matter was due to a technical glitch upstream beyond their control. Fine. However, I would like to see an unequivocal statement from Netvigator (as well as all other Internet service providers in Hong Kong) that they would never ban any website. PERIOD. That would mean accountability and progress. This is a very low bar — just say that you didn't do it and you won't do it. How hard can it be? Why do you have to wait until every Hong Kong blog is talking about this?

Conversely, if Netvigator failes to clear this very low bar, what does that say?