Global Times recently reported, based on Indian media coverage, that the Indian government banned 54 more Chinese mobile apps for “threat to Indians’ privacy and security.” Many of these apps are products of large Chinese technology companies like Tencent, Alibaba and NetEase. Since June 2020, India has carried out four rounds of operations against Chinese apps, with a total of more than 270 apps banned. The current one is the fifth round of the Indian government’s crackdown on Chinese apps, and overall, more than 300 apps have been banned. This is the latest step taken by India against the backdrop of tensions between China and India due to border disputes. The latest 54 banned apps are mostly those banned by the Indian government two years ago but have since been repackaged. Many apps owned by Tencent and Alibaba have changed hands to hide ownership and are hosted in regions like Hong Kong or Singapore, but the data ends up being sent to servers in China. A senior Indian official said on condition of anonymity that, the government has taken notice of this. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India issued a statement saying that it had received a request from the Ministry of the Interior of India to implement an emergency blocking of 54 applications in accordance with relevant laws. The statement said the 54 apps gained a number of key permissions and collected sensitive data from users. The Chinese government has stated on many occasions that it firmly opposes India’s repeated use of “national security” as an excuse to ban apps with Chinese backgrounds. Such practices violate the WTO principle of non-discrimination and the principle of fair competition in the market economy.
Source: Global Times, February 15, 2022