"Whilst the use of WhatsApp, WeChat and similar messaging apps in China is legal, we have seen in the recent espionage debt of a US citizen in Russia who cited the use of WhatsApp in his espionage charges. "Read an email CNN has seen.
WeChat and WhatsApp representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
& # 39; exercise increased caution & # 39;
"UC Davis Global Affairs routinely publishes links to US Department of State travel recommendations and Centers for Disease Control Centers for places where our faculty, staff and students travel," the spokeswoman told CNN.
The e-mail was sent by Gary Leonard, an executive director of UC's Risk Services Division, under the presidency. Leonard, who is traveling, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for a comment. A spokeswoman for the president's office did not answer either.
This warning, which raised the threat level from 1
China has always had a somewhat uncomfortable relationship with foreign students.
The comic-style poster featured a woman named Xiao Li who was swamped by compliments, red roses, fancy dinners, and romantic walks in the park of David, a "guest researcher who researches questions about China," who persuades her to share internally government documents.
Academics and even some students visiting China have complained that they are being watched and persecuted by the police, or questioned about their research with whom they speak in the country.
In addition to the warning "do not sign anything," the new UC manual instructs staff to "ask or interrogate long questions and answers to avoid accidentally delivering information that may be distorted," to refuse departure or facilitate arrest. "
In the past, concerns were mainly focused on public statements or public statements to authorities, but the new guidelines indicate that officials are concerned that even private statements could be used against academics and students.
& # 39; new suppression level & # 39;
UC's concerns seem to be well founded. China increasingly resorts to previously tolerated spheres, with even private commentaries being monitored.
Twitter is blocked in China, and although a small number of Chinese dissidents and activists use the platform, their influence is limited and in the past they have been largely ignored by the authorities.
Although tweets are public, the Chinese authorities have in the past also been looking for people to do things they say private, especially in Tencent's news channel app WeChat, which has been shown to be in line with state censorship and surveillance.
"Numerous cases have shown that Chinese authorities have access to private chats on WeChat," said Yaqiu Wang of HRW to CNN.
"The crackdown on Chinese Twitter users and the punishment of Wechat users for their private messages shows that authorities are increasingly intolerant of speeches that are either private or anonymous."
Experts warned long before using WeChat for sensitive issues, even though the app is difficult to avoid due to the dominance of the app in China.
"The reality is that ordinary Chinese people often feel powerless and fatalistic in censorship and surveillance," she said.