TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese netizens on Wednesday (Aug. 14) turned on their own flagship tech company Huawei after images surfaced of some of the company’s phones listing Taiwan as a separate country from China.
On Tuesday (Aug. 13), Weibo users started posting screenshots of the firm’s P-series phones oddly displaying different political status for Taiwan, depending on the language setting when viewing time zones. When the default simplified Chinese characters are displayed, Taipei is listed as part of China.
However, when the language setting is switched to the traditional Characters, Taipei is listed in the time zone view as being part of Taiwan, implying that it is a separate country. Chinese netizens quickly became incensed at the perceived stab in the back by a domestic company.
By Wednesday, the hashtag #HuaweiGetoutofChina (华为滚出中国) started to spread like wildfire on Weibo, Chinese netizens calling for Huawei to apologize. Over 300 posts have been made under the hashtag and it has received more than 300,000 views.
Chinese netizens accused Huawei of “adopting double standards,” being a “traitor,” and called for a boycott of the brand. One user even wrote, “to safeguard national sovereignty and to crush all separatist acts, please pick up a Huawei and smash it!”
However, one Weibo user pointed out that it could be caused by a “problem” with the Android application package, and that similar discrepancies have been seen on phones made by other brands.
Criticism of Huawei has been on the rise recently on Chinese social media after images of a 2010 Facebook post by the company marking Taiwan’s national day. Similar posts acknowledging Taiwan’s national day going back to 2014 were found to have been posted by other Chinese phone makers, such as Xiaomi and Oppo.
When contacted by AFP for comment on the latest incident, Huawei said it was looking into the matter.
Top circled image says Taipei,China, bottom circled image says Taipei, Taiwan. (Weibo images)