China accused of interference as Australia PM's WeChat account vanishes


Senior members of the Australian Prime Minister's government accused China of interference, after their leader's WeChat account disappeared. — REUTERS/File Photo

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's WeChat account has disappeared, prompting accusations of Chinese "interference" from senior members of his government Monday.

Morrison's account on the Chinese social media app, which was launched in February 2019, appears to have been replaced with one titled "Australian Chinese new life."

WeChat is the overwhelmingly dominant messaging and social media platform in China, where Western services such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter are blocked.

There was no immediate comment from Morrison but a senator from his ruling centre-right Liberal Party accused Beijing of being behind the change.

"What the Chinese government has done by shutting down the prime minister's account is effectively foreign interference in our democracy," James Paterson told 2GB radio on Monday.

Paterson called on Australian politicians to boycott WeChat in response.

According to the account's about page, the "Australian Chinese new life" name was registered on October 28, 2021.

But the account has posts dating back to February 1, 2019, including Morrison's first, which reads: "I'm very happy to open my official WeChat account".

AFP has contacted WeChat's parent company Tencent for comment.

Morrison first launched his WeChat account to communicate with Australia's sizable Chinese-Australian community ahead of elections in 2019.

That year, Morrison was asked by reporters whether there was a risk his account could be censored by the Chinese Communist Party.

"We haven't experienced any such censorship," he said.

In December 2020, WeChat removed a post from Morrison that defended Australia's investigation into allegations of war crimes perpetrated by Australian soldiers.

The post also criticised Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who had tweeted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife.

The last post on the "Australian Chinese new life" account is from July 9, 2021.

The Daily Telegraph reported Morrison has been locked out of his account since then.

All of the posts on the "Australian Chinese new life" account relate to Australian government announcements or messages from Morrison. – AFP

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Tech News

Canada customer data firm Telus makes $830 million play for Australia's Appen
YouTube removes over 9,000 channels, 70,000 videos about Ukraine war
Apple boosts pay budget for U.S. workers - WSJ
Nearly one in five Amazon delivery drivers gets hurt on the job each year, new report says
South Korea's SK announces $195 billion investment for chips, batteries, bio through 2026
Sony says it plans PS5 ramp up as shortages ease
Twitter to pay $150 million to settle with U.S. over privacy, security violations
Musk pledges more equity to fund Twitter deal, scraps margin loan
What can you do with a 200-megapixel camera sensor on your phone?
Turkish fast delivery firm Getir to cut 14% of staff -source

Others Also Read