China may be one of the biggest nations in the world right now, but it’s not exactly the safest. The University of California has started warning students to not use WhatsApp, WeChat, and other similar apps when in the country, lest they risk detention by local law enforcement.
This new is sparked by increased tension between the US and China after the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at American request. Since then, a number of American and Canadian citizens have been detained as part of an investigation against “activities that endangered China’s national security.”
The University of California specifically listed these apps to avoid after US Citizen Paul Whelan was arrested in Russia. While the apps are legal in the country, Whelan was reportedly issued with an espionage charge that related to his usage of WhatsApp.
“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.”CNN
Fighting nature is one thing, angering the government of a major country is another. Best be careful if you ever plan to travel there.