China says concerned about India banning Chinese apps; TikTok claims ban provisional

Yolanda Curtis
July 1, 2020

The ministry received 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 unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.

"The ban will affect not only the employment of local Indian workers who support these apps, but also the interests of Indian users and the employment and livelihoods of many creators and entrepreneurs", she asserted.

A senior official at the IT Ministry said the prime reason to block the apps under section 69 A of Information Technology Act is to stop the violation and threat to the security of the state and public order and to plug the data leaks.

Expressing serious concern at India's ban on Chinese mobile phone applications, China on Tuesday said that the move was discriminatory, impacted the employment of Indian creators and possibly violated rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"The Indian government has the responsibility to protect the legitimate rights and interests of worldwide investors in India, including Chinese businesses, in accordance with market principles", said spokesperson Zhao Lijian. Abiding the law, TikTok, which is the first app in the list has voluntarily disabled its services in the country today.

Blaming each other for the brutal hand-to-hand battle on June 15 as talks make little headway, the Asian giants have been bolstering their border forces as anti-China sentiment grows in India.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing that China is "strongly concerned" about the announcement and looking into the situation.

The Indian deaths triggered outrage on social media with calls to boycott Chinese products.

Ties were strained last August when New Delhi revoked the semi-autonomous status of Indian-controlled Kashmir and split off Ladakh - parts of which are claimed by China - into a new administrative territory.

"There is too much of Chinese presence in the everyday life of the average Indian", said Alka Acharya, professor of Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

"Chinese investors are going to become very wary of investing in India".

With Asia's third-biggest economy dealt a sucker punch by the coronavirus, the apps ban fits in with Modi's vision outlined in May of a "self-reliant India" able to produce all it needs at home.

This is the first time that India, the world's second largest internet market with almost half of its 1.3 billion population online, has ordered to ban so many foreign apps. "They'll be anxious that they might invest billions of dollars into the country and either Indian consumers will boycott and protest against them, or the government will just ban them because they're backed by Chinese", Rein said.

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