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WPS Office Accused of Freezing Document Over Million Words; Violated China Cyberspace Rules, Developer Says




By ANI | Updated: 19 July 2022

Chinese software developer Kingsoft is facing severe criticism after a writer accused the company of locking her work written in the word processing software WPS over alleged “sensitive content”. Miffy Gu, a Chinese writer, on June 25, found that the writing software presented her with a warning message, according to The Wall Street Journal. “This document may contain forbidden content. Access has been suspended.” the message had read. She said that she had written more than a million words. “I freaked out… I had written more than a million words, and now I couldn’t open it,” Gu said.

The software in question was WPS, a word processing program that’s part of China’s most downloaded domestically produced suite of office applications.

Censorship has long been present in China with the country placing severe restrictions on most of the media including print, radio, theatre, film, TV, and of course, social media. Any voice that is on the opposing side of the Chinese Communist Party can be swiftly suppressed.

Gu’s panic turned to anger as she wrestled with Kingsoft Office, the maker of the software, to regain control of her work.

She shared her story on a writer’s forum, and others relayed her experience on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

According to The Wall Street Journal, her story rocketed to the top of Weibo’s list of trending topics on Monday, as users expressed shock and outrage at what she had encountered.

On Monday, Kingsoft issued a statement cited by The Wall Street Journal saying that it had restricted third-party access to an online document that violated China’s cyberspace rules.

While in its second statement on Wednesday, Kingsoft pushed back against what it said was a mistaken assumption, embraced by many social media users, that it had interfered with files on a user’s hard drive.

The company said it is required by Chinese cybersecurity regulations to examine and approve documents connected online and does so using encryption that protects users’ privacy, the media outlet reported.

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