The lock is most likely due to the release release of new versions of the editor dubbed "Stand with Hong Kong" and "Free Uyghur".
China has blocked the popular text editor Notepad++. The reason for the block is the unfavorable political views of the development team regarding political unrest in Hong Kong and human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China.
According to information from the official Twitter account of Notepad++, the blocking was due to the names objectionable to the Chinese government, which the developers came up with for new versions of their text editor. They were named "Stand with Hong Kong" and "Free Uyghur".
“I reject the idea that our rights to free speech are limited by an authoritarian country. Notepad++ stands by the people of Hong Kong," the Stand with Hong Kong blog post reads.
The phrase "Stand with Hong Kong" is associated with rallies in Hong Kong against the extradition bill, which limited the rights of citizens. With this expression, the developers marked the version of Notepad ++, which was released on July 16 this year.
In turn, "Free Uyghur" refers to the infringement of the rights of the Uyghurs – the Turkic indigenous people of East Turkestan, now the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Where the Chinese government conducts mass surveillance of them, including using GPS sensors and DNA collection. This phrase was present in the titles of versions released between October 2019 and January 2020.
When trying to download Notepad++ using Chinese web browsers, users get a message that the site is blocked.
Tencent QQ browser blocking Notepad++ download
QQ browser message translated into English:
Tencent Web Site Security Center reminds you that this website may contain illegal content This website has been reported by a large number of users, and may have published content that is banned by the state. To protect your personal and property safety, it is recommended that you visit with caution. You are visiting: https://notepad-plus-plus.org/downloads/
The download site is not only unavailable in QQ browser, but also in other Chinese browsers such as Chrome 360, which displayed the following message:
The website you are currently visiting contains illegal information, please close the page.
However, currently Notepad++ home page is still accessible from Chinese browsers, only download pages are blocked.
The creator of Notepad++ told reporters from BleepingComputer that he has never been contacted by the Chinese government, but the ban does not surprise him and he is not ready to remain silent or make concessions.
The first version of Notepad++ was released in 2003, at first the editor was available only for Windows, but now there are versions for macOS and Linux. The application supports about 90 languages and is very popular among programmers around the world.