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China slams India’s move to ban 43 more apps

A sales officer promotes an app-based loan service to potential customers during an expo in Jakarta. Alternative lending companies and platforms across Asia are scrambling to raise funds and stave off bankruptcy as they face a wave of bad loans. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Nov 25, 2020, The Hindu. China on Wednesday said it “firmly opposes” India’s “use of national security” after Tuesday’s move to ban 43 more Chinese apps, which followed similar measures announced in June and September that have already restricted 177 mostly Chinese apps amid continuing tensions along the border, The Hindu reported.

With the latest ban, more than 200 Chinese apps, many owned by some of China’s biggest Internet firms including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Sina and Bytedance, which once saw India as their biggest potential overseas market, are now no longer accessible in India. Tuesday’s move listed 43 mobile apps, including Alibaba-linked apps such as AliExpress and Alipay Cashier, citing threats to national security, integrity and sovereignty of India.

India had blocked 59 apps in June and a further 118 in September, including Tencent’s WeChat, Bytedance’s popular TikTok app, Baidu, UC Browser, Sina Weibo and a number of gaming apps, such as PUBG and Rise of Kingdoms.

A statement from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on Wednesday said, “We firmly oppose the Indian side’s repeated use of ‘national security’ as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background.”

“The Chinese government has always required overseas Chinese companies to abide by international rules, operate in compliance with laws and regulations and conform to public order and good morals,” the statement said. “We hope the Indian side provides a fair, impartial and non-discriminatory business environment for all market players from various countries including China, and rectify the discriminatory practices violating WTO rules.”

Tuesday’s move comes amid deadlocked talks to push disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), with both sides yet to agree on a plan to disengage and return to status quo prior to China’s multiple transgressions starting in May. While the Chinese state-run media has not reported widely on the LAC transgressions, the app ban has been covered widely in the Chinese press, with calls for repercussions targeting Indian companies.

India has sought to signal clearly to China that trade and investment relations cannot continue as normal while the border situation remains tense, with Delhi of the view that Beijing has this summer violated multiple border agreements that both sides have broadly abided by for close to three decades.

The Chinese government, in contrast, has in public statements repeatedly called on India to delink the border from other aspects of the relationship — a stand that officials in India say is untenable unless China returns to the status quo on the borders.

“China and India are the opportunities of development to each other rather than threats,” the Chinese Embassy statement on Wednesday said. “Both sides should bring bilateral economic and trade relations back to the right path for mutual benefit and win-win results on the basis of dialogue and negotiation.”

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