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Lithuania Cracks Down On Xiaomi Smartphones

Xiaomi Lithuania

It is well known that China rigorously monitors its citizens and practices censorship, and Chinese companies, in particular, have to adhere to this. In the West, however, they don’t want to know anything about it. In the case of Xiaomi, a Lithuanian ministry is now making serious allegations.

Do not use, throw away immediately

Xiaomi is also popular in Europe, the Chinese manufacturer is known for good and at the same time affordable hardware. But the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense advises citizens of the country and outside of it to stop buying Xiaomi smartphones. More than that: Owners of devices from the manufacturer should ideally throw them away immediately.

The reason for this extreme advice is an investigation carried out on behalf of the Lithuanian government. This found out or claimed that Xiaomi devices have built-in censorship capabilities. As Reuters reported that flagship smartphones sold in Europe have a built-in ability to recognize and censor terms like “Free Tibet”, “Long Live Taiwan Independence” or “Democracy Movement”.

Can be activated at any time

In the case of the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G, this software is automatically switched off for the European market, but according to the Lithuanian cybersecurity authority, it can be switched on remotely at any time. Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius said: “Our recommendation is not to buy new Chinese cell phones and to get rid of those that have already been bought as soon as possible.” Xiaomi itself did not respond to a request from Reuters on the matter.

The publication of the report is no coincidence, as there have recently been diplomatic tensions between Lithuania and China. Among other things, it concerns the recognition of Taiwan or the fact that the island state claimed by China is allowed to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius under the name Taiwan – in other countries the name Taipei is usually used to avoid China upset.

Update: Xiaomi has now published a statement and denies the allegations: “Xiaomi devices do not censor communication with or from their users. Xiaomi never has and will never restrict or prevent personal activities of its smartphone users, such as searching, calling, surfing the Internet, or using third-party communication software. Xiaomi respects and fully protects the legal rights of its users. Xiaomi complies with the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union (GDPR). “