PM Modi’s Weibo account goes blank in China; profile photo, posts taken down

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter-like Weibo account in China went blank on Wednesday after his photo, posts and comments were removed from the handle.

The removal of all information from Modi’s Weibo comes 10 days after at least three official Indian statements – including the PM’s – were deleted from the Indian embassy’s official account on the popular social media app, WeChat.

It could not be immediately ascertained when Modi’s Weibo handle was taken down but on Wednesday, the page was blank.

It also comes in the backdrop of India banning 59 Chinese apps on Monday because of security and data breach concerns.

On Wednesday, all information from Modi’s account – including his profile photo – were taken down.

Modi’s Weibo account was set up in 2015 amid much fanfare and publicity before his first visit to China as prime minister.

Since then the account had 244000 followers, many of them Chinese.

Since 2015, but barring this year, Modi had wished President Xi Jinping ahead of his birthday on June 15.

He also published messages on Sino-India ties especially after meetings with Xi.

Modi’s posts on Weibo were in Chinese.

The HT has reached out to the Chinese foreign ministry for a comment on this development.

The sudden taking down of Modi’s Weibo account and removal of the Indian government’s posts on Chinese social media come in the backdrop of the violent face-off, and ongoing tension, between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley region.

While 20 Indian Army soldiers died, the Chinese government has so far not revealed the casualties suffered by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) though China has admitted to international diplomats about casualties on its side.

On June 20, an India’s external affairs ministry (MEA) statement about the Indian position on the ongoing border tension with China was mysteriously deleted from the embassy’ official Weibo account a day before the WeChat posts were deleted.

Tencent, a leading Chinese tech company that owns WeChat didn’t respond to HT’s questions on the taking down of Indian government’s official statements.

However, the message that popped up on WeChat when clicking the MEA’s statement on the Galwan Valley clash said: “This content was reported and confirmed by the platform of the following:” before it says in Mandarin: “Suspected of violating relevant laws, regulations and policies”.

As it then turns out, according to WeChat, the spokesperson’s statement was removed because it carried “…contents prohibited by laws and regulations of the state.”

The long list of regulations include: “endangers national security, divulges state secrets, subverts state power, or undermines national unity, inciting hatred, disseminating false information, inciting illegal assembly, demonstration or gathering of people to disturb public order”.

Source : Hindustan Times

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