Narendra Modi decides to quit Weibo days after Centre bans 59 Chinese apps; BJP leaders hail 'strong message'

Modi had 115 posts on Weibo, and it was decided to manually delete them and after much effort, all the posts have now been removed, sources told PTI.

FP Staff July 02, 2020 15:23:58 IST
Narendra Modi decides to quit Weibo days after Centre bans 59 Chinese apps; BJP leaders hail 'strong message'

Days after India banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok and UC Browser, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to quit microblogging site Weibo, which is a Chinese platform similar to Twitter, reports said.

PTI quoted government sources as sayig that the prime minister decided to quit Weibo, which he had joined in 2015, as soon as the decision was taken to ban 59 Chinese apps in India. They added that Weibo has a more complex procedure to quit for accounts of important personalities which is why an official process was initiated.

For reasons best known to the Chinese, there was a great delay in granting this basic permission, they said.

The prime minister had 115 posts on Weibo, and it was decided to manually delete them and after much effort 113 posts were removed, they said.

Narendra Modi decides to quit Weibo days after Centre bans 59 Chinese apps BJP leaders hail strong message

File image of Narendra Modi's account on Weibo. Image courtesy: Twitter/@narendramodi

The two posts left were those where Modi had photos with Chinese President Xi Xinping, they noted, adding that it is difficult to remove posts on Weibo in which pictures of Xi feature.

All the posts are deleted now, the sources said.

According to an article in The Print, after the ban on Chinese apps was announced, many Weibo users had written angry comments in response to Modi's last post on the platform, which was a new year's greeting.

Modi had set up an account on Weibo in May 2015, before his first visit to China as prime minister. As of 1 July, 2020, his account had a total of 2,44,000 followers, many of them being Chinese. Among his posts on Weibo were some messages on yoga, and wishes for Jinping on his birthday, an article on Huffpost noted.

Weibo is said to be China's most popular microblogging site and is run by the country's largest internet portal, Sina.com. It was introduced in August 2009.

The prime minister's decision to quit Weibo comes ten days after at least three official Indian statements – including that of the prime minister – were deleted from the Indian embassy’s official account on the popular social media app, WeChat, a Hindustan Times report said.

Several BJP leaders hailed Modi's decision to quit the platform, including IT cell chief Amit Malviya and the party's general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh.

The Centre recently banned 59 Chinese apps, saying that they are "engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".

The ties between India and China have come under strain due to their military standoff at Ladakh border.

With inputs from PTI

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