Censorship is not an alien concept in China. The government exercises varying degrees of control over all media platforms that can reach a wide audience, and many apps have been banned in the world's most populated country. Apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Google and its products such as Maps and YouTube have been blocked in China, and in most cases, the government has control over the dissemination of information.
It is thus somewhat ironic when the country opposes decisions by other nations to ban Chinese apps. On June 30, less than a day after India announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps, the neighbouring country has responded by "firmly opposing" the decision.
The lengthy list of banned apps includes popular options such as TikTok, Shein, ShareIt, Hago, Cam Scanner and more.
For the uninitiated, India's decision comes in the wake of a Indo-China border clash that saw 20 Indian soldiers killed and others injured. The two nations are in the midst of a border dispute.
Read the full text of the letter sent by Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India Counselor Ji Rong in reaction to India's decision:
On June 29, the Ministry of Information Technology of India issued a notice, citing relevant laws and regulations, to block certain Chinese mobile applications in India on the so-called grounds that 'they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order'. The Chinese side is seriously concerned with and firmly opposed to such 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 suspects of violating the WTO rules. It also goes against the general trend of international trade and E-commerce, and is not conducive to consumer interests and the market competition in India.
Related apps have a large number of users in India, have been operating strictly in accordance with Indian laws and regulations, and provide 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.
We expect India acknowledges the mutually beneficial nature of China-India economic and trade cooperation, and urge 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.