After one week spent on the blacklist, Russia has restored access to China’s most popular social media app. At long last! We have no idea how Chinese web users in Russia managed to survive.
On Thursday, Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said that a company called WeChat International had provided the necessary information for the social messaging service to be included on Russia’s “register of organizers of information distribution on the Internet.”
WeChat was formally blocked last week for failing to provide these contact details, though it’s not clear how widespread that block was and how many users were affected. WeChat is not popular in Russia, used mainly by Chinese living, working and traveling in the country.
The move stirred up a bit of ironic indignation from Chinese state media who bemoaned how the ban had “triggered wide complaints from the Chinese living in Russia, who said it has affected their daily life and work.” On Monday, China’s nationalistic tabloid, the Global Times, even published an editorial, calling on Russia to lift the block and warning that:
The blocking of WeChat has triggered wide complaints from Chinese tourists, students and businessmen in Russia, who see WeChat as an essential channel for connecting with people in China. The block is likely to cause a lot of confusion until people turn to new communication channels. We cannot rule out the possibility that trade, tourism and investment between China and Russia may suffer a blow as a result.
Meanwhile, China’s own telecoms watchdog continues to block a number of international networking apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, Line and Pinterest for similarly vague reasons and for much longer now than one week.
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