Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lost control of his WeChat account, which is owned by China, and a politician accused China’s leaders of political meddling on Monday.
Morrison’s 76,000 WeChat followers were alerted earlier this month that his page had been renamed “Australian Chinese new life” and that his photo had been removed, according to Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper. According to the report, the changes were made without the knowledge of the government.
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.
Paterson, a member of Morrison’s conservative Liberal Party, has called for a boycott of the platform, which 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.
Paterson expressed concern that 1.2 million Chinese Australians who use the site were unable to see news from the prime minister, but could still see opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s criticisms of the government.