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Morrison’s WeChat page is renamed “Australian Chinese new life.”

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The account of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the Chinese-owned social media platform WeChat was hacked and renamed on Monday, and a legislator accused China’s leaders of political meddling. However, Scott Morrison’s office declined to comment on the report. 

Morrison’s 76,000 WeChat followers got alerted earlier this month that his page had to get renamed “Australian Chinese new life” and that his photo had been removed, according to Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper. According to the study, the adjustments got made without the knowledge of the administration. Morrison’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

WeChat has not responded to an Australian government request to restore the prime minister’s account, according to James Paterson, chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security.

With Australia’s elections looming in May, Paterson accused the Chinese Communist Party of censoring the prime minister.

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Paterson, a member of Morrison’s conservative Liberal Party, has called for a boycott of the platform. It is owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent. “The Chinese government has interfered with Australian democracy in an election year by shutting down an Australian account,” Paterson said Sydney Radio 2GB.

Paterson continued, “No politician should be on WeChat legitimizing their restrictions.” He also expressed concern that 1.2 million Chinese Australians who use the site do not see news from the prime minister. But could still see opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s criticisms of the government.

Dave Sharma, a member of the Liberal Party and a veteran diplomat, believes the involvement got likely sanctioned by the Chinese government. Morrison utilized WeChat to interact with Australia’s Chinese diaspora, Sharma claimed. However, the Chinese Communist Party ultimately owned the platform.

“It was most certainly state-sanctioned, and it demonstrates Beijing’s stance toward free speech and freedom of expression,” Sharma told Sky News television. Since taking over as Prime Minister in 2018, Morrison has had a tense relationship with China.

The Chinese have criticized a new collaboration established in September between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, under which Australia will get nuclear-powered submarines.

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