A large number of overseas WeChat users received a notification on September 6, asking permission for WeChat to send users’ personal information back to a server in China. Scholars have called on Western lawmakers to block WeChat. Although WeChat is ostensibly divided into an international version and a domestic version, it is only to dispel accusations of breaking the law in foreign countries and it has never ceased to act as a thug in the CCP’s speech censoring.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that an account named “Wai Xiaojie,” a YouTuber living in France, also received a French version with similar content. She was shocked when she realized that the international version of WeChat could not protect users’ privacy, and the extended arm of the CCP still would not give up censoring overseas users. She advised overseas Chinese to give up using WeChat.
Wai Xiaojie said: “WeChat makes such a move, ‘Sima Zhao’s heart, passersby all know!’ (This idiom implies Sima Zhao’s intention to take over the place is clearly shown). It can be said that democracy and dictatorship are clearly differentiated. Overseas Chinese have become very dependent on WeChat, but is it really that important? We can completely abandon WeChat, we shouldn’t let them fool us, actually WeChat isn’t that important.”
Liu Lipeng, who used to be a moderator on Sina Weibo, said that WeChat was previously divided into a domestic version and an international version, which was just for show. The two versions’ function basically the same, WeChat now informs overseas users that “data is being sent home,” which just tears off the mask itself.
Teng Biao, a jurisprudence scholar in the United States and a professor at the University of New York, said that the CCP has always used WeChat as a tool to control society and censor speech, and it’s also a tool for overseas censorship. As far as he knows, overseas Chinese often use WeChat to communicate with family in China, and the content becomes evidence that the authorities use to oppress people in the country. Teng suggested Western countries investigate or legislate for Chinese applications, even blocking Chinese applications like India did.