Image source, Reuters
Shanghai resident Rachel told the BBC: “For Chinese speakers, WeChat has become an irreplaceable tool, no matter where you are in the world.”
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Some experts pointed out that the reason why WeChat is so successful is partly because the same type of mobile applications such as WhatsApp and Instagram have been blocked in China.
The Chinese community in the United States is generally shocked by the WeChat ban. People are not only worried about disconnecting from relatives and friends, but also about its significance to Sino-US relations.
21-year-old Jennie is a junior at the University of California.She learned of the WeChat ban when she was scanning WeChat.
"At first I didn't believe it was true, I thought it was some gossip," she told the BBC. "When I found out that it was conclusive information, I felt very angry."
Jennie spends about 4 hours a day on WeChat, communicates with friends in China and the United States through WeChat, and reads articles on the official account on the platform.
She also had a public account until it was deleted two years ago.It was the sixth anniversary of the year, and Jennie posted a commemorative message on the public account.Not only was the article quickly deleted, her entire official account disappeared.
She said she was "very worried" that WeChat would hand over her information to the Chinese government, but she also strongly opposed the U.S. banning the application.
"That is the same as what China does, censoring and banning speech." She believes that besides blocking WeChat, there should be other ways to control the threat it brings.
Image source, Getty Images
"I want to come to the United States to study because it is open, but this move makes me feel a little disillusioned," Jennie said.
Such disappointment is also common among Chinese immigrants in the United States.
She said that if the United States really banned WeChat, she might use VPN over the wall. "It's ironic to have to go over the wall when I get to the United States."
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WeChat is "fully integrated" into daily life
Among Chinese returnees, there are also concerns about the WeChat ban. Rachel has lived in the United States for ten years and now lives in Shanghai.She said that WeChat has "completely integrated" into people's daily lives.
Image source, Getty Images
In mainland China, from the community where they live to the company building where they work, many places require people to show a green code that represents health before allowing them to enter or leave.
“If you live in China and you don’t have WeChat and Alipay, it’s almost impossible to move forward,” she said. “If you buy a bottle of milk, you open WeChat Pay or Alipay to scan the QR code.” Many merchants no longer accept cash payments.
At the same time, WeChat has also been used as a tool for China to fight the epidemic.
"It's very sad that things have evolved like this," Rachel said. "I can understand the positions of both sides. Both societies are good and bad. I want to remain neutral, but it is getting harder and harder now.
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