Trump orders ban on transactions with eight extra Chinese language apps, cites India transfer

Washington, January 6

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order barring transactions with eight Chinese apps, including Alipay and WeChat Pay, to protect America’s national security, citing the steps taken by India to ban more than 200 Chinese connected software applications.

China’s government on Wednesday accused Washington of misusing national security as an excuse to hurt commercial competitors after President Donald Trump signed an order banning transactions with payment services.

Trump’s order said action is needed to “deal with the national emergency” caused by the “pervasiveness of the spread” of apps created and controlled in China. 

The ban against the eight Chinese apps—Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office—will come into effect in 45 days from Tuesday.

“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 China, to include Hong Kong and Macau (China), continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Trump said on Tuesday.

“At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by these Chinese connected software applications,” Trump said in his executive order.

The orders follow two others Trump signed in August banning dealings with the popular video app TikTok as well as the main WeChat app.

Trump said that 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,” according to the executive order.

The United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swaths of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information, which would allow the Chinese Army and the Chinese Community Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.

“The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security,” he said.

Trump said that by accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, Chinese connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information.

“This data collection threatens to provide the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—which would permit China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, and build dossiers of personal information,” he said.

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, Trump said. 

Tuesday’s order escalated a conflict with Beijing over technology, security and spying accusations that has plunged U.S.-Chinese relations to their lowest level in decades.

It followed confusion in financial markets after the New York Stock Exchange announced last week it would remove three Chinese phone companies and then withdrew that plan Monday.

 “This is another example of the U.S.’s bullying, arbitrary and hegemonic behaviour,” said China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.

 “This is an example of the United States over-generalizing the concept of national security and abusing its national power to unreasonably suppress foreign companies.”

Beijing will take unspecified “necessary measures” to protect Chinese companies, Hua said, repeating a government statement made following previous U.S. sanctions announcements. It rarely has been followed by action. PTI/AP

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