Chinese Xiaomi said on Wednesday that its devices did not censor user communications, a day after the Lithuanian Defense Ministry recommended that consumers avoid Chinese phones due to a censorship feature in the flagship phone of the smartphone giant.
Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone’s software censorship capability has been disabled for the “European Union region” but can be enabled remotely at any time, the National Cyber Security Center said in a report on Tuesday.
In a statement sent to Reuters on Wednesday, the Xiaomi spokesman said his device “does not censor communications to or from its users.”
“Xiaomi has never and will never limit or block the personal behaviors of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, browsing the web or using third-party communications software,” the statement said.
“Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of all users,” he added.
The National Cyber Center report also said that the Xiaomi phone was sending encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore, which could be against EU data regulations.
The Xiaomi spokesperson said: “Xiaomi complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.”
Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius told Reuters that the ministry shared its report with cybersecurity officials from other countries in the European Union and the United States on Wednesday.
According to the report, terms potentially subject to censorship by Xiaomi phone system applications, such as the default Internet browser, include “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” and “democratic movement.”
China last month demanded that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador to Beijing and said it would recall its envoy to Vilnius after Taiwan announced that its mission in Lithuania would be called the Taiwan Representative Office.
Taiwanese missions in Europe and the United States use the name of the city of Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, which China claims as its own territory.
US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan last week underlined his support for Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte in the face of pressure from China.