CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Phone abandon call another anti-China trick; Lithuania warned short-sighted efforts in vain
Published: Sep 22, 2021 07:38 PM
Photo taken on Feb. 26, 2018 shows a screen displaying the 5G technology at the booth of China's telecom giant Huawei during the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.(Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on Feb. 26, 2018 shows a screen displaying the 5G technology at the booth of China's telecom giant Huawei during the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.(Photo: Xinhua)

Lithuania, the "anti-China vanguard" in Europe, played a new trick by urging the country's consumers not to buy Chinese mobile phones and advised them to throw away the ones they currently have amid "censorship" concerns.

"Xiaomi's devices do not censor communications to or from its users. Xiaomi has never and will never restrict or block any personal behavior of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, web browsing or the use of third-party communication software," a spokesperson of the company told the Global Times on Wednesday. The spokesperson noted that Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of all users and that it complies with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.

Analysts pointed out the latest move again showed that the short-sighted Lithuanian government is trying to woo the US to gain national security as it identifies Russia and China as the "greatest threats."

However, the Baltic country is merely a "chess piece" of the US and its provocations against China will only "shoot itself in the foot," analysts said.

Reuters reported that flagship phones sold in Europe by China's smartphone giant Xiaomi have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as "Free Tibet," "Long live Taiwan secessionism" or "democracy movement," citing words from Lithuania's state-run cyber security body on Tuesday.

Reuters claimed that a security flaw was also found in the P40 5G phone by China's Huawei. Huawei's representative in the Baltics told local newswire BNS its phones do not send user's data externally.

Photo taken on June 4, 2021 shows the interior of the Mi-store in the Electron Commercial Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. China's tech company Xiaomi, known for its smartphones, opened its first Mi-store in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on June 4, 2021 shows the interior of the Mi-store in the Electron Commercial Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. China's tech company Xiaomi, known for its smartphones, opened its first Mi-store in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.Photo:Xinhua



As part of its China-bashing policy, Lithuania's new move is politicizing economic and trade exchanges, which would harm its own national interests, Liu Zuokui, a research fellow on European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

The Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi can appeal to the European Union on whether the "phone abandon call" based on groundless accusations is in line with legislation and regulations on market competition, Liu said.

Media reported in August that Xiaomi became the top seller in Europe for the first time in Q2 2021, with 12.7 million phones shipped, up 67.1 percent year-on-year.

China has recalled its ambassador to Lithuania as a countermeasure in response to the Baltic country's provocation on the Taiwan question, which is a deterrent. But Lithuania is unlikely to abandon its anti-China policy in a short period, analysts said.

The Baltic country is trying to gain protection from the US in national security as it considers a security threat from Russia imminent and also fears China, given close China-Russia ties, Liu said.

"A small country [Lithuania] dares to confront a major power [China]" can be considered a "public stunt" for the Lithuanian government to build up its image of a "democracy guardian and hero," which can help it gain more public support and consolidate its regime, Liu said.

However, Chinese analysts warned Lithuania of gaining in vain and facing isolation by going too far in attacking China.

Liu predicted that the small Baltic country is likely to continue to provoke China in the near future. If Lithuania steps on China's bottom line, the possibility of a "diplomatic relations cut-off" cannot be ruled out after prudent assessment, Liu said.


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