China has “declined” to say why it has blocked the Australian broadcaster, according to ABC. Human rights groups have previously accused China of censoring content online to repress dissent.

    
A man views his smartphone on a subway train in Beijing, China

China has blocked access to the news service and website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the broadcaster reported on Monday.

“China’s cyber security regulator has confirmed it has censored the ABC’s website for breaching the country’s internet rules and regulations, but has declined to say how,” said ABC.

The Australian media organization said access to its website was “abruptly stopped” on August 22. It said it had made several requests seeking clarification about the situation but Chinese authorities had not offered details about the case.

‘Violating China’s laws’

Instead, ABC said an official from China’s Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission dictated the following statement:

“State cyber sovereignty rights shall be maintained towards some overseas websites violating China’s laws and regulations, spreading rumors, pornographic information, gambling, violent terrorism and some other illegal harmful information which will endanger state security and damage national pride.”

Read more: China’s Xi Jinping urges respect for ‘cyberspace sovereignty’ at internet summit

Uphill battle

Human rights groups have described China as the “world leader of internet censorship.”

Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an open letter to Google, urging it to stop plans to roll-out “censored search services in China.”

“The Chinese government extensively violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy; by accommodating the Chinese authorities’ repression of dissent, Google would be actively participating in those violations for millions of internet users in China,” HRW said.

Read more: China shuts down thousands of websites for breaking the law

Last year, ABC launched a new Chinese-language service to replace its Australia Plus website, a portal it ran in collaboration with a state media outlet that “was hosted on a Chinese domain and was subject to Beijing’s censorship.”

Watch video02:36

Companies in China hit by online censorship

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COURTESY: DW

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