The British Broadcasting Corporation says its English-language website is no longer accessible in China, a move slammed by the broadcaster as an act of "deliberate censorship."

In a statement Wednesday, BBC World Service Group Director Peter Horrocks strongly condemned what he called the attempt to "restrict free access to news and information."

Horrocks says the BBC is protesting the move to Chinese authorities, which routinely block news reporting from foreign organizations, including the Voice of America.

When asked about the website blockage Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said only that the issue is being handled according to Chinese law. "Chinese citizens have full Internet freedom. At the same time, the Chinese government manages the Internet in accordance with the law," he said.

China's so-called Great Firewall has for years blocked the British broadcaster's Chinese-language website, though until Wednesday its English-language site was largely available.

Material for this report came from Reuters.

The BBC did not say if it believes the expanded censorship is a result of any specific aspect of its reporting, though the move comes amid weeks of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

China's state-controlled media have portrayed the protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory as illegal and destabilizing, in what appears to be an attempt to keep them from spreading to the mainland.