UPDATE - Australians Advised To Leave China's WeChat After Morrison's Account Hacked - Gov't

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 24th January, 2022) Australian Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said on Monday that citizens should reconsider using the Chinese social media platform WeChat after Prime Minister Scott Morrison's account on the platform was hijacked and rebranded.

The account, launched in 2019, was reportedly hacked and renamed "Australian-Chinese New Life." According to the updated description, the page is designed to provide information on life in Australia for the Chinese community without the government's consent.

"I'd urge all those in Australia to have a second think about using WeChat as a platform," Birmingham told the Sky news broadcaster.

Australian lawmaker James Paterson, serving as Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, pointed out to the outlet that the messaging app belongs to the Chinese company Tencent, "one of the most closely controlled (by the Chinese government," blaming the hacking on Beijing as "foreign interference" on its part.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue.

"The WeChat's account incident of the relevant Australian politician is a matter between him and WeChat, I will not comment on it here," Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a briefing on Monday when asked on the matter.

In December 2020, WeChat removed Morrison's post condemning a tweet by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian about Australian soldiers' war crimes in Afghanistan, classifying it as censorship.