|Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his WeChat account in 2019 ahead of Australian elections that year (File photo by= AFP/STRINGER)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's WeChat account has disappeared, prompting accusations of Chinese "interference" from senior members of his government Monday (Jan 24). But Tencent, the Chinese tech giant that owns WeChat, has denied that the prime minister's account was hacked or removed from its platform, AFP reported.
"Based on our information, this appears to be a dispute over account ownership, the account in question was originally registered by a PRC individual and was subsequently transferred to its current operator, a technology services company," a Tencent spokesman said. Morrison's account on the Chinese social media app, which was launched in February 2019, appears to have been replaced with one titled "Australian Chinese new life". The name was registered by Fuzhou 985 Technology Co Ltd on Oct 28, 2021. However, the account has posts dating back to Feb 1, 2019.
It’s understood the Australian prime minister had a Weixin account, which needs to be registered by someone in mainland China, rather than a WeChat account, which can be accessed by overseas users. Fuzhuo 985's legal representative Huang Aipeng told SBS on Monday that the purchase of the account was legal. There’s no immediate comment from Morrison but a senator from his ruling center-right Liberal Party accused Beijing of being behind the change.