Apps ban | China says India ‘abusing national security’, colluding with U.S.

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng. File   | Photo Credit: AP

China on Thursday hit out at India’s move to ban 118 Chinese apps, accusing New Delhi of “abusing the concept of national security” and suggesting India was coordinating with the United States in its actions against Chinese companies.

Also read: Government bans PUBG, WeChat Work, 116 other mobile apps

China also criticised U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun’s comments earlier this week on the border row, accusing the U.S. of ‘meddling’.

“Regarding the China-India boundary issue, China always advocates finding a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through peaceful and friendly consultations,” the Chinese embassy in New Delhi said in a statement. “For a period of time, the two sides have been in touch and in talks at various levels to seek peaceful settlement of the boundary issue. China and India have the ability to resolve their border disputes bilaterally. We don’t accept countries outside the region pointing fingers, let alone meddling or making instigation, which will only endanger the regional peace and stability.”

In Beijing, both the Commerce Ministry and the Foreign Ministry issued statements hitting out at India’s app ban. “The Indian side abused the concept of ‘national security’ and adopted discriminatory restrictive measures against Chinese companies, violating relevant WTO [World Trade Organization] rules. China urges India to correct its wrong practices,” Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng was quoted as saying by state media.

‘Mutually beneficial’

“India’s ban against Chinese apps not only damages the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese investors and service providers but also harms the interests of Indian consumers and the investment environment of India as an open economy,” he said. “China-India economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial and win-win. It is hoped that the two countries will jointly maintain the hard-won cooperation and development situation, and create an open and fair business environment for international investors and service providers, including Chinese companies.”

Also read | Chinese apps among most downloaded TikTok alternatives after app ban

In a separate statement, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing suggested there was coordination between India and the U.S., which on Wednesday welcomed the move to bar 118 apps, which followed the previous June order to ban 59 Chinese apps.

“I have noted that the U.S. State Department on the same day said India banned more than 100 Chinese apps and called on other countries to roll out the Clean Network initiative. So I don’t know if there is any correlation or interaction between India and the U.S.,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

Ms. Hua accused the U.S. of carrying out “digital gunboat diplomacy” and “coercing and robbing Chinese businesses”, and said China “hopes India could stay committed to its precious independence in decision-making”.

The Hindu Explains | What will be the impact of Chinese apps ban?

“India is an ancient civilisation with wise people, they should know what the U.S. has done in cybersecurity, for example Dirtbox, Prism, Irritant Horn, Muscular and undersea cable tapping,” she said referring to reported wiretapping and malware programmes. “Indian people must have the wisdom to tell whether the U.S. practice on cybersecurity is clean or dirty.”

“We hope the people of China and the people of India can conduct normal exchange or cooperation in all sectors, and they should not, because of temporary short-sightedness, hurt the long-term interests of both countries and the peoples,” Ms. Hua said.

Also read | Modi quits Weibo

“Both are ancient civilisations with splendid cultures that we are proud of and the exchange between the two sides has been going on for thousands of years.”

Ms. Hua cited the popularity of the poems of Rabindranath Tagore in China, and quoted one of his lines saying, “We read the world wrong, and say it deceives us”. “Yoga is becoming more and more popular in China, and including myself, I am very fond of Indian culture,” she added. But we do not think that Indian culture or poems or other things are infiltrating here or are posing any threat to Chinese culture. So, we hope that the Indian side can bear in mind the two peoples’ friendship and long-term interests, and work to promote bilateral exchange and cooperation. We believe that the Indian people have self-confidence in their culture.”

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 9:21:01 PM |

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