Chinese We Chat, Gives Fed Government Two Finger Salute
Chinese App WeChat has given the Australian Federal Government a two finger salute by refusing to appear before a Senate public hearing into social media and foreign interference.
Home affairs spokesperson James Paterson claims the decision demonstrates “contempt.”
“I am advised by the committee secretariat that WeChat was invited on three occasions over several months to participate in a public hearing,” committee chair Senator Paterson said.
“I have also written to WeChat personally to ask them to reconsider their refusal and agree to appear before us today. Late yesterday, they confirmed that they have again refused to do so.”
WeChat is a social media and commerce app developed by Chinese company Tencent.
Last week the Chinese Government imposed more than $1.5 billion in fines on the tech giants Ant Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd, the fine wrapped up more than two years of probes into the finance technology firm founded by billionaire Jack Ma.
Paterson said “I have written to WeChat personally to ask them to reconsider their refusal and agree to appear before us today. Late yesterday, they confirmed that they have again refused to do so.”
Senator Paterson said the refusal demonstrated “contempt for the Parliament of Australia by WeChat and their parent company Tencent.”
More than one million people in Australia use the app.
The app is often used by the Communist Chinese Government to bully and intimidate people as well as spy on them and their activities even in Australia claim observers.
WeChat is the world’s biggest messaging app with over 1.2 billion global users, almost of all of whom live in China. Chinese citizens use it the way Americans use text messaging, in addition to paying for some online services.
It’s one of the few Chinese social media that works both in and out of China (TikTok, for example, provides a different service for foreign users than the Chinese themselves use). And users in China understand that the government is monitoring ever word and image they say or post on WeChat-and that the government censors what the government doesn’t like.
In 2020, the Toronto-based research group Citizen Lab found that WeChat imposes real-time automatic censorship of chat images through a mix of text recognition, visual recognition, and detection of detecting duplicate files. Once WeChat picks up an image that’s subject to restriction, it immediately blocks all users from sending that image.