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India's ban on Chinese apps 'selective, against WTO rules': China

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Beijing, June 30: A day after India banned 59 apps with Chinese links for engaging in activities which are "prejudicial" to the "sovereignty and integrity" of the country, China on Tuesday voiced strong concern over India''s move and said New Delhi has the responsibility to uphold the "legitimate and legal rights" of international investors.

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    "India's measure, selectively and discriminatory aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions,& suspects of violating WTO rules," said Ji Rong, spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India.

    The embassy said the move to ban these apps, which include the hugely popular TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser, among others, "goes against the general trend of international trade and e-commerce, and is not conducive to consumer interests and the market competition in India".

    The ban would affect jobs in India, Ji Rong said. He urged India to change the practice and "treat all investments and service providers equally."

    India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, in the backdrop of the current stand-off along the Line of Actual control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese troops.

    Reacting to India's ban on the Chinese apps at a Foreign Ministry briefing here, spokesman Zhao Lijian said, "China is strongly concerned about the relevant notice issued by the Indian side. We are checking and verifying the situation."

    "I want to stress that the Chinese government always asks the Chinese businesses to abide by international rules, local laws and regulations in their business cooperation with foreign countries," he said.

    List of 59 Chinese apps banned by India: TikTok, SHAREiT and WeChat among them

    "The Indian government has the responsibility to uphold the legitimate and legal rights of the international investors including the Chinese ones," he said.

    India''s Information Technology Ministry said on Monday that it has invoked its power under section 69A of the IT Act and rules, and has decided to block 59 apps in view of information available 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 move will "safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace", it added. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the practical cooperation between China and India is actually mutually beneficial and win-win.

    "Such pattern has been artificially undermined and it is not in the interest of the Indian side," Zhao added.

    The list of apps that have been banned by India also include Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call - Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein.

    This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.

    India''s Information Technology Ministry in a statement said it has received many 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 compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the statement said.

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