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Washington urged to stop action against Chinese apps

(China Daily)    08:29, August 07, 2020

China urged the US government to stop taking action to block Chinese apps, as the "bullying move" has no factual basis and goes against market principles.

Following TikTok, Chinese messaging app WeChat and others are coming into the crosshairs, as the Trump administration expands efforts to clamp down on Chinese-made technology in the US.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday the Chinese apps "are significant threats to personal data of American citizens", and specifically named TikTok and WeChat. "We want to see untrusted Chinese apps removed from US app stores," he told reporters at a media briefing.

Purging Chinese apps from US app stores is part of the "Clean Network" program Pompeo announced on Wednesday. The "comprehensive approach to guarding" American privacy and information would focus on "cleaning" five areas-carriers, stores, apps, clouds and cable.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that Pompeo and some US politicians have repeatedly abused national power to suppress and contain China's high-tech enterprises by using the excuse of protecting national security.

"The US action has no factual basis and is malicious slander and political manipulation," he said. "It, at root, is to maintain its high-tech monopoly position."

He said the "bullying move" completely violates market principles and international economic and trade principles, and seriously threatens the security of the global industrial supply chain.

Wang stressed that many Chinese enterprises currently subject to unilateral sanctions by the US are innocent, and their technologies and products are safe. There has never been a network security incident similar to WikiLeaks or the leaking of secrets about US National Security Agency surveillance activities by Edward Snowden, nor has there been network monitoring behavior similar to the "Prism Gate" scandal.

"It's ridiculous that the US talks about a 'Clean Network' while it is covered with dirt," he said.

He urged the US to correct its mistakes and give back free, open and secure cyberspace to the world.

Asked to comment on the US action against TikTok, Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to the United States, said on Tuesday at the virtual Aspen Security Forum that there is "such a degree" of political intervention, government intervention in the market and discrimination against Chinese private companies.

"I think it's not fair to make such allegations without giving evidence and to accuse China of not giving American companies a level playing field, while at the same time they themselves are denying Chinese companies such a level playing field," Cui said."This is extremely unfair."

In addition to restricting apps and cloud services, the Trump administration also seeks to prevent US apps from being preinstalled or made available for download on mobile devices manufactured by Huawei and "other untrusted vendors", and to prevent Chinese carriers from connecting to US telecom networks.

"So did the US just announce it is building a great firewall?" said Adam Segal, director of the Program on Digital and Cyberspace Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, in response to the "Clean Network".

Pompeo's announcement comes after US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok last week. The hugely popular video-sharing app has come under fire from US lawmakers and the administration over alleged national security concerns.

Despite the repeated denial of the allegations, ByteDance, TikTok's owner, faces a deadline of Sept 15 to either sell its US operations to Microsoft Corp or face an outright ban of the app.

WeChat, owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, is the largest communication app in China. Unlike Tik-Tok, which is primarily used by young adults in the US, WeChat is primarily used by overseas Chinese and global businesses with a footprint in the Chinese market.

China Daily contacted representatives of TikTok and WeChat on Thursday, but they would not comment on Pompeo's plan.

John Pilger, an Australian writer and filmmaker, encouraged people to speak up against "the fanatic Pompeo's lies about China".

The "China threat" is nonsense, he said in an article."What was threatened was America's unchallenged psychopathic view of itself as the richest, the most successful, the most 'indispensable' nation," he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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