Australia accuses China of ‘foreign interference’ after PM’s WeChat blocked — Analysis

Scott Morrison is alleged to have been prevented from accessing the Chinese social networking site for many months

The chairman of Australia’s parliamentary intelligence committee has accused China of interfering with the country’s democracy after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat account was allegedly blocked.

Victoria Senator James Paterson – who serves as chair of Australia’s Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security – claimed on Monday that Morrison has been unable to access his account on the Chinese social network for several months.

“My view is, given that WeChat is such a closely controlled company by the Chinese Communist Party, that this amounts to foreign interference in our democracy, and in an election year no less,”During an interview with 4BC, Paterson stated these words.

“It’s particularly concerning that they’ve sought to punish the prime minister, and prevent him from posting on it, but they’ve continued to allow [Australian opposition leader] Anthony Albanese to post on it, and post his attacks on the government on it, which we now can’t respond to.”

Paterson called for all Australian politicians in response to WeChat’s claims to be boycotted “no one should be legitimizing their censorship and their control over our public debate.”

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The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that it was unable to find Morrison’s account on WeChat in China, while Albanese told 4BC that he was concerned by any “national security implications”The alleged blocking could have.

Albanese did note, however, that Australia hasn’t “heard anything from the prime minister himself about these issues,”Morrison would be contacted directly, he said. “rather than a backbench MP” – an apparent dig against Paterson.

According to reports, Australian politicians use social media networks from China in order reach Chinese Australians. This is a substantial minority of Australia’s population.

Gladys Liu is a Hong Kong Liberal Party MP. announcedOn Monday, she said that WeChat would be no more used by her in protest of the blocking and accusation China made. “interference” in Australia’s democracy.

Liu’s district of Chisholm has a large Chinese-Australian population, with 19.7% of those in the area reporting Chinese ancestry – thousands more than those in the district with English and Australian ancestry.

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