In a shocking revelation, it was found that the default weather apps of Chinese phones in India do not show reports for cities that China considers as ‘disputed.’ The grave issue was first highlighted by Tech Youtuber Gaurav Chaudhary aka Technical Guruji.
On Saturday, Gaurav took to Twitter and stated that it was a matter of huge concern that the default weather app in Xiaomi phones do not show weather report of cities in Arunachal Pradesh. He has sought for the intervention of Home Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office and Amit Shah, Ministry of Information technology in the matter. Gaurav Chaudhary had also shared a screenshot where the query for weather report of Itanagar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh, threw no results.
A HUGE CONCERN— Gaurav Chaudhary (@TechnicalGuruji) October 17, 2020
Default weather App in @XiaomiIndia phones doesn’t show weather of cities in Arunachal Pradesh…
RT 🔃 and circulate..
cc @PMOIndia @GoI_MeitY @rsprasad @AmitShah @HMOIndia
When OpIndia tried to make similar search queries, it found that the default weather app on Xiaomi phones did not provide results for Itanagar. A comparison between search results for ‘Mumbai’ and ‘Itanagar’ can be seen below.
Not just Itanagar, Xiaomi default weather app also provided no results for other districts in the State such as Pasighat and Longding. The search results for the two can be seen below in the screenshot. It is pertinent to remember that Xiaomi is a Chinese multinational company with several manufacturing facilities in India. The founder, chairman and CEO of the company is Lei Jun, who also happens to be a Chinese billionarie.
However, the weather reports of both Itanagar and Pasighat can be accessed by downloading third-party weather apps from the play store. The screenshot shown below is taken from the Weather App by Accurate Weather Forecast and Weather radar Map. Therefore, it is not that the weather data for locations in Arunachal are not available, rather, the locations are deliberately blocked by the company in the default weather app pre-installed on the phones.
It is interesting to note that the default weather app in Xiaomi phones derive weather data from Accuweather. While Accuweather shows weather info for Arunachal in its app and website, the phone’s default app blocks that data.
Although the Xiaomi mobile handsets are now made in India, the absence of weather reports of Arunachal Pradesh, which China considers as disputed territory, on its default weather application raises serious questions about its integrity and the underlying connections of the private company and the CCP (Communist Party of China).
Problem not limited to only Xiaomi phones
Following the tweet of Gaurav Chaudhary, netizens pointed out how the problem was not just limited to Xiaomi phones. Twitter user, Srimant Mishra, highlighted that while his Vivo (another Chinese electronics company) phone showed results for Itanagar, it did not throw weather results for Leh and Kargil in Ladakh. He also shared screenshots wherein Vivo displayed Gilgit Baltistan and Mirpur, territories which are an integral part of India, as belonging to Pakistan. The app was however quick to label Taipei, the capital of independent Taiwan, as part of China.
Sir, I’ve Vivo Y15. I searched for Itanagar, I got the result but when I searched for Leh, kargil it’s not showing. And when I searched for Gilgit, Mirpur it showed me those places are in Pakistan. And also searched for Taipei in a part of China. @AnOpenLetter001 @Vivo_India pic.twitter.com/zTHSHpW6CM— Srīmant Mishra (@MishraSrimant) October 17, 2020
Another Twitter user, Aditya Dogra, pointed out how the problem is recurrent across all Chinese mobile manufacturing companies. He stated that Realme phones also did not provide weather reports for Ladakh.
One Plus, a renowned Chinese brand, also did not provide weather results for Leh and kargil, which are considered as ‘disputed’ by China despite being integral territories of India.
Indian govt had earlier banned Chinese apps
The outrage on social media over the ‘deliberate’ omission of weather reports of Indian territories, owing to alleged Chinese objections, comes months after the Indian government banned several Chinese apps in the country. Earlier in June this year, the Government of India (GOI) had banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps from operating in India. A month later, it had blocked access to an additional 47 Chinese applications. The banned apps operated as ‘clones’ of the earlier banned apps.
The Ministry of Information Technology, invoking its power under section 69A of Information Technology Act, ordered a block on the use of 59 apps saying that these apps are “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order”.