Chinese word-processing software locks novelist out of 1.3-million-word document

A Chinese writer was locked out of their 1.3 million-word novel after Chinese cloud-based word processing software WPS claimed it contained illegal content.

The novelist, going by the alias MiTu, posted the account on the Chinese literature forum Dragon Sky on 25 June, accusing the company of “spying on and locking my draft”, MIT Technology Review reported.

Following the post, MiTu’s document was reviewed manually for three days, after which she could access it again on 28 June.

However, the post soon gained traction on the Chinese social media platform Weibo and became a trending topic on 11 July, prompting other users to share similar experiences.

In a Weibo post from WPS customer service on 13 July, a company representative clarified that the service would not “conduct any operations such as auditing, locking, or deleting of the user’s local files.”

However, in response to a comment on the post, customer service explained that sharing a file will trigger a document review.

“If you do not take the initiative to share and disseminate externally, turning on cloud synchronisation and saving to cloud space will not trigger the review, but creating a document sharing link will trigger [the audit mechanism],” the post said.

This aligns with Article 47 in China’s Cybersecurity Law, stating that network operators must immediately stop transmission or publication of “information that the law or administrative regulations prohibits.”

According to The Economic Observer, a Dragon Sky user said WPS locked their document in February 2022, even though they never shared the file with anyone.

Now read: China censors mentions of massive data leak involving 1 billion citizens — Report

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Chinese word-processing software locks novelist out of 1.3-million-word document