Tencent refutes foreign claims of ‘blocking’ WeChat account of Australian PM

Chinese technology giant Tencent refuted a recent allegation by foreign media and some Australian politicians that the WeChat account of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was blocked by the company.

Tencent told the Global Times on Monday that “there is no evidence of any third-party intrusion,” noting that based on the company’s information, it appears to be a dispute over account ownership.

The company noted that the account in question was originally registered by a Chinese individual and was subsequently transferred to its current operator, a technology services company – and it will be handled in accordance with Tencent’s platform rules.

“Tencent is committed to upholding the integrity of our platform and the security of all users’ accounts, and we will continue to look into this matter further,” the company said.

The response came after Australian politicians reportedly said Morrison’s office lost access to the account on the platform several months ago. The politicians claimed that the move represented censorship amid growing diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing, with a national election to be held in Australia by May.

The Daily Mail on Sunday even made extreme allegations, saying that “the Australian prime minister has recently seen his WeChat account turned into a pro-Beijing mouthpiece under the name ‘Australian Chinese new life’, which intelligence chiefs are calling ‘foreign interference’.”

The account, which bore Morrison’s photograph and posted information on his policies in Chinese language, had 76,000 followers, according to media reports.

Expert said that the allegations made by Australian politicians and some foreign media were meant to further play up the “China threat theory” for ill-intended political purpose to support Morrison by turning him into a “victim.”

“The proper option for the Morrison administration should be to find the person who it asked to operate the account for details, instead of dramatizing such groundless things in the media,” Chen Hong, a professor and director of the Australian Studies Centre, East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Monday.

Morrison and some foreign media obviously want to politicize it, use it to attack China, and create a so-called “China threat theory,” which again reflects their use of every opportunity to attack China, Chen noted.

Author: Yin Yeping, Global Times

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