A popular Chinese social media app, WeChat, has removed updates by the Embassy of India (EoI) on the current border conflict including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the clash that left 20 Indian Army soldiers dead.
The reasons given for the removal of the posts include divulging state secrets and endangering national security.
The updates published on WeChat, a popular social media app, included Modi’s remarks on the India-China border situation, the phone call between the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers held on Thursday and a statement by the external affairs ministry’s (MEA) spokesperson.
A day earlier, the EoI had to issue a clarification on its Chinese Twitter-like Weibo account after the same statement by the MEA spokesperson was deleted. Embassy officials had to then clarify to its readers that the post wasn’t removed by them, and re-published a screen-shot of the statement in Chinese.
While the statements put on WeChat were in English, the EoI’s Weibo account was carrying a Chinese version of the Indian ministry’s version of the events at the border in eastern Ladakh.
The sudden removal of the Indian government’s posts from its official accounts on Chinese social media comes in the backdrop of the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley region earlier this week.
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 official Chinese media have admitted that there were casualties on both sides.
Followers of the EoI’s official account on WeChat first noticed the discrepancy on Saturday morning. On clicking two of the statements on WeChat, the message that pops-up says the posts were “…deleted by the author”.
It was learned that the EoI did not remove any of the posts. For the third post on WeChat, the MEA spokesperson’s statement, the message says: “Unable to view this content because it violates regulations”.
It then gets serious because of the nature of the regulations the statement is said to have violated – endangering national security.
The message continues: “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 includes: “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”.
Prime Minister Modi also has a Weibo account, which was opened when he came to China in May, 2015.