Chinese App Ban: In a major announcement leading to escalation of tensions with China, US President Donald Trump banned transactions with China’s ByteDance, owner of video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent, operator of the WeChat app starting in 45 days. Also Read: Double Whammy For China! US Bans TikTok For Govt Employees, Google Deletes Over 2500 YouTube Channels With Chinese Links
The orders have been issued by the Trump administration in an attempt to rein in control over Chinese apps from accessing US digital networks while calling the short video app TikTok and messenger WeChat as “significant threats” as per the news agency report Reuters.
Just like India, the mass popular video-sharing app has garnered a lot of attention from the US lawmakers and the administration due to national security concerning data collection.
The order has come amid the simmering tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Why the order has been passed?
The order has been executed under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that grants the administration to bar US firms or citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with sanctioned parties.
It has been reiterated by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo that the administration has taken the measures under its program “Clean Network” that focuses on five areas and includes actions to prevent various Chinese apps, as well as Chinese telecoms companies, from accessing sensitive information on American citizens and businesses. The ban is in line with Pompeo’s announcement.
US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross will look into the transactions covered by the prohibition once the order gets implemented in mid-September. The order leaves key unanswered questions about the restrictions.
What prompted the ban?
The proposed restriction has come soon after China initiated move asking the US to vacate its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu. The China took the step after the US ordered China to vacate its consulate in Houston, Texas.
There only about 3 million WeChat users in the United States and they are mostly Chinese.
Meanwhile, Trump had said he would support the sale of TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft Corp if the US government got a “substantial portion” of the sales price but also warned he will ban the service in the United States on Sept. 15.