Citing India, Trump blocks 8 Chinese apps over national security

Taking India’s example of banning more than 200 Chinese apps, US President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order that blocks transactions with Chinese companies running eight apps, including Jack Ma-owned Ant Group’s Alipay, Tencent’s QQ and WeChat Pay applications.

Transactions will be prohibited in 45 days, said the order. Other apps include CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office — which are already banned in India.
“The Government of India has banned the use of more than 200 Chinese connected software applications throughout the country; in a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that the applications were stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India,” Trump wrote in his new executive order.

The new executive order follows two earlier ones from Trump in August last year where he tried to ban transactions with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, and WeChat.

However, a judge blocked the WeChat ban in September and in October, a judge granted a preliminary injunction stopping the TikTok ban in December.

“The pace and pervasiveness of the spread in the United States of certain connected mobile and desktop applications and other software developed or controlled by persons in the People’s Republic of China, to include Hong Kong and Macau (China), continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the executive order further read.

“The US must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security.”

The Trump order said that “the continuing activity of the PRC and the CCP to steal or otherwise obtain United States persons’ data makes clear that there is an intent to use bulk data collection to advance China’s economic and national security agenda”.

On June 29 last year, the government banned 59 Chinese apps in the first lot, including TikTok, WeChat, UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community, over national security concerns amid the border tussle in Eastern Ladakh which led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a bloody clash with Chinese PLA troops in the Galwan Valley in June 2020.

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