Chinese authorities are encouraging parents to check their children’s devices for encrypted messaging services like Telegram, which facilitate the organization of protests. The government noted that the apps have “the ability to erase content immediately after reading, which facilitates the destruction of criminal evidence.”
If they find these apps, parents have been encouraged to take their children to the nearest police station “to find out whether their children had engaged in crime.”
“School and family education should play an important role in deterring juvenile crimes,” stated the police, in a statement to state media.
Telegram, and other encrypted messaging apps, played a crucial role in the organizing of the protests against the country’s zero-Covid policy last year, some of the largest protests recorded in the country since the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989.
Telegram was also used by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2019.
Most foreign messaging and social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp are banned in China. While users can circumvent the ban using virtual private networks, the government routinely monitors the platforms for dissent and other crimes. The domestic equivalents, like WeChat and Weibo, are also highly monitored.