Lithuania Tells People Throw Away China-Made Phones, Claims Censorship

  • Lithuania told people to trash their Chinese-made phones “as fast as reasonably possible.”
  • It said some phones, like Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone, can censor terms like “democracy movement.”
  • The feature is turned off in the phones in the EU but can be turned back on remotely, it said.

The Lithuanian government has told people to throw away their Chinese phones and avoid new ones, claiming some of them had the ability to find and censor certain terms like “democracy movement” in people’s texts.

“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” Lithuania’s deputy defense minister, Margiris Abukevicius, told reporters on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

In a Tuesday report, the Lithuanian defense ministry’s National Cyber Security Centre said that Mi 10T 5G phones sold in Europe by China’s Xiaomi Corp, for example, were able to detect and censor terms including “free Tibet, “long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement.”

Discussions about the pro-independence movement in Tibet, sovereignty of Taiwan, and pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong are highly sensitive subjects in China. Those terms are heavily censored on Chinese social media, and people who discuss these topics are punished.

The Lithuanian report said that the censorship function was generally turned off in the phones in the European Union, but that the feature can be turned back on remotely, per Reuters. The report did not say where the feature could be turned on, or by whom.

Xiaomi did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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