China on Wednesday, 27 January, urged India to “correct its discriminatory measure” against Chinese businesses, and stated it was a violation of the World Trade Organisation's fair competition principles of business after the Indian government announced to continue its ban earlier this month on 59 Chinese applications, including TikTok, WeChat, CamScanner, Shein and others.
Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong put out a statement opposing India’s ban on Wednesday, saying, “Since last year, the Indian side has repeatedly used national security as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background. These moves in violation of WTO non-discriminatory principles and fair competition principles of market economy severely damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. The Chinese side firmly opposes them.”
“We urge the Indian side to immediately correct its discriminatory measures and avoid causing further damage to bilateral cooperation,” she added.
India Banned Chinese Apps Last Year
The Government of India banned 59 mobile apps including TikTok, UC Browser and other Chinese apps on Monday, 29 June, calling them "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order."
Ministry of Electronics and IT, in a statement, said, it is "invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 apps since in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order."
“At the same time, there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country.”Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
Since many Chinese apps have been suspected of harvesting the data of users and feed to Chinese intelligence agencies, this move by the Indian government looks to be in line to avoid the same.
The Ministry of Information Technology also added that it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.
"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," it added.
According to the government, this move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users.
"This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace," said the ministry.
This moves comes amid the standoff between the two countries in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, which began in May 2020 and has not yet found a resolution, with 50,000 troops deployed on each side, facing steep winter weather.