NEW DELHI: The government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese apps, including the popular video-sharing service Tik Tok, evoked a strong reaction from China on Tuesday with its foreign ministry reminding India that it had the responsibility to uphold the “legal and legitimate rights” of international investors, including Chinese businesses.
The Chinese embassy here followed the spokesperson’s remarks in Beijing with a statement saying China was seriously concerned about the move and appealed to India to shun “discriminatory” practices, bearing in mind the “fundamental interests of both sides and the overall interests of bilateral relations”.
In a move widely seen as a response to the recent Chinese aggression on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the government banned these apps saying their activities were prejudicial to India’s sovereignty and integrity. Apart from the military counter build-up on the LAC, the action against the apps is seen as use of leverage that can significantly impact revenues of Chinese firms.
“I want to stress that the Chinese government always asks Chinese businesses to abide by international rules, local laws and regulations in their business cooperation with foreign countries,” foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said as he expressed strong concerns. He added that China was checking and verifying the situation. The Indian government had said it has received complaints about “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data” to servers outside India.
Zhao also claimed the pattern of “win-win” practical cooperation between the two countries had been “artificially undermined” and it was not in India’s interest.
In a more elaborate response, the embassy here said the Chinese side firmly opposed India’s action. “India’s measure, selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and violates WTO rules,” the embassy spokesperson said.
The official added that India’s move also went against the general trend of international trade and e-commerce, and was not conducive to consumer interests and market competition in India.
China said it wanted India to acknowledge the “mutually beneficial nature” of China-India economic and trade cooperation.
The embassy urged the Indian side to change its “discriminatory” practices, maintain the momentum of China-India economic and trade cooperation, treat all investments and service providers equally, and create an “open, fair and just business environment, while bearing in mind the fundamental interests of both sides and the overall interests of bilateral relations”.
Touching upon the popularity of some of these apps, the embassy said these had a large number of users in India, had been operating strictly in accordance with Indian laws and regulations, and provided efficient and fast services for Indian consumers, creators and entrepreneurs. “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,” the official said.