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University of California Tells Students Not To Use WeChat, WhatsApp In China

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Students and faculty at the University of California (UC) have been warned not to use messaging apps and social media while visiting China, for fear their communications could be used against them by the country’s law enforcement agencies. The guidance from one of the biggest school networks in the U.S. is the latest concern to be raised over Western travel to China following the December 1 arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. authorities.

The UC guidance also appeared to reference the case of Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen arrested in Russia last month on suspicion of espionage. “While the use of WhatsApp, WeChat and like messaging apps are legal in China, we have seen in the latest espionage charge of a U.S. citizen in Russia where the use of WhatsApp has been cited in his espionage charges,” read an email seen by CNN. “Our concern here is the possibility China could use this condition similarly against western travelers to levy charges or as an excuse to deny departure. We recommend not using these messaging apps in China at this time.”

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