By Andrius Sytas
VILNIUS (Reuters) – China’s Xiaomi (OTC:) Corp said on Wednesday that its devices do not censor users’ communications, a day after Lithuania’s Defence Ministry recommended that consumers avoid Chinese phones due to a censoring feature in the smartphone giant’s flagship phone.
According to a Tuesday report by the National Cyber Security Centre, although the censoring capabilities in Xiaomi’s Mi10T 5G smartphone software have been disabled for “European Union regions”, they can still be activated remotely.
According to a Xiaomi spokesperson, the phone “doesn’t censor communications from or to its users,” according to Reuters.
The statement stated that “Xiaomi never has and will not restrict any individual behaviours of its smartphone users such as browsing, searching or calling or using third-party communications software.”
The statement added, “Xiaomi completely respects and protects legal rights for all users.”
According to the report by National Cyber Centre, Xiaomi was also sending encrypted data about its phone use to an address in Singapore. This could violate European data regulations.
The Xiaomi spokesman said: “Xiaomi complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.”
Margiris Abukevicius (Deputy Defence Minister) told Reuters that his ministry shared their report with officials in cyber security from other European Union states and the United States.
The report states that the Xiaomi phones’ system apps could censor terms such as “Free Tibet”, the “Long Live Taiwan Independence” and the “democracy Movement”.
China requested that Lithuania remove its ambassador to Beijing last month and that it recall its envoy from Vilnius. This was after Taiwan declared that the Taiwanese Representative Office would become its mission in Lithuania.
The name Taipei is used by Taiwanese mission in Europe and America. This avoids any reference to Taiwan’s island, which China considers its territory.
Ingrida Simonyte, the prime minister of Lithuania, was supported by President Joe Biden in spite China’s pressure.
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