Lithuania accuses Xiaomi of censorship and urges the population to get rid of their cell phones

Xiaomi defended himself and stated that he never blocked any type of information from its users
(Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

  • Lithuanian defense bodies accuse Chinese brands of censoring terms like “democracy movement” and “Free Tibet”

  • Because of this, the country asked the population not to buy (or throw away) the brand’s cell phones

  • Report was released as China and Lithuania face a delicate relationship

Lithuania’s Ministry of Defense has recommended that the population not buy – and even throw away – cell phones from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi. The request came shortly after a local government security report said the devices censored terms such as “Free Tibet”, “Movement for Democracy” and “Long Live Taiwan Independence”.

“Our recommendation is not to buy new Chinese phones and get rid of the ones we have already bought as soon as possible,” said Lithuanian Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius, according to the South China Morning Post.

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The Mi 10T 5G, sold in Brazil for around R$ 5,579.99, is one of the models identified as capable of detecting and blocking searches. The report points out that there are more than 440 terms and that, despite being disabled in the European Union, the function can be activated remotely by the company at any time.

In contrast, Xiaomi denied the accusation, claiming to be committed to the rights of users of their cell phones and that it follows the General Regulation on Data Protection of the European Union.

“Xiaomi has never restricted or will block any personal behavior of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, web browsing or using third-party communication software,” he said.

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China and Lithuania face a delicate relationship

Last month, China demanded that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador from Beijing and requested the return of its diplomatic envoy to the country’s capital. This was after Taiwan announced that it would open Taiwan Representative Offices in Lithuania.

Taiwan is currently considered by China as a rebel province. The conflict between the “two Chinas” began after the Chinese Revolution of 1949, which overthrew the government of Chiang Kai-shek and installed the socialist government of Mao-Tse Tung.

Chiang Kai-shek took refuge on the island of Taiwan, separated from enemy territory by a 130 km wide strait, where an autonomous government was formed. From then on, China was divided into the People’s Republic of China (the mainland part) and Nationalist China or Taiwan (the island part).

For all intents and purposes, Taiwan is now a sovereign state, but Beijing still sees the territory as an inseparable part of its own.

On Thursday, Taiwanese authorities announced that 19 Chinese aircraft, including 14 fighter jets and two nuclear-capable bombers, had entered Taiwan’s air defense zone. This is the biggest invasion in months.