WeChat is a messaging app that’s almost universally used by people in China and countless users abroad. It has been revealed over the weekend that the Chinese government is capable of recovering deleted WeChat messages. While this won’t really come as a surprise to many since they have already suspected that the authorities had this type of capabilities, it’s the public acknowledgment of the capability that’s going to surprise people.

The South China Morning Post reported today that an anti-corruption commission in China’s Hefei province revealed on social media that as part of an investigation it “retrieved a series of deleted WeChat conversations from a subject.”

The post was deleted the next day but it had already been viewed by countless people by then who fully understood what it meant as well. The commission didn’t disclose how it was able to retrieve the deleted WeChat messages so there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered, such as whether there’s a backdoor or a master key that the authorities can use to access deleted messages or whether or not the encryption is strong enough.

Tencent, the company that operates WeChat, said in a statement that “WeChat does not store any chat histories — they are only stored on users’ phones and computers.”

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