Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that the Russian Federal Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media Supervision Agency (Roskomnadzor) issued a statement stating that Russian government officials are prohibited from using some communications software developed and operated by foreign companies, including Discord, Teams, Skype for Business, Snapchat, Telegram, Threema, Viber, WhatsApp, and China’s WeChat. After the news spread across China, Chinese netizens ridiculed the government’s whining about the U.S. ban of TikTok. Last month the U.S. banned the TikTok use across federal agencies. In response to the U.S. ban, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “The U.S. is so afraid of an app that young people like; it is too underconfident.” However, the Chinese government remained quiet on the Russian WeChat ban, and the Chinese mainstream media has been compltely silent. WeChat is the most popular mobile instant messaging app in China. It has been the world’s largest standalone mobile app since 2018 with over 1 billion monthly active users. The Russian WeChat ban was based on the amendments to the “Information, Information Technology and Information Protection Act” passed in 2022, and the amendments went into effect on March 1, 2023. The ban also applies to businesses and financial organizations with state involvement. The WeChat blockage by the Kremlin also made many Chinese people feel (it was) sudden and (they were) puzzled, due to China’s friendly position on the Russia-Ukraine war.
Source: LTN, March 5, 2023