China has “resolutely opposed” India’s “use of national security as an excuse” after New Delhi’s November 24 decision to ban 43 Chinese apps.
“India should immediately correct its discriminatory approach and avoid causing further damage to bilateral cooperation”, said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
A separate statement from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said China “firmly oppose[s] the Indian side’s repeated use of ‘national security’ as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background” even as President Xi Jinping told the armed forces to strengthen training under real combat conditions and raise the capability of winning wars during a meeting of the Central Military Commission.
On the app ban, China said the two countries should work together to bring economic relations back “to the right path”.
The Indian government issued a ban on 43 Chinese apps on November 24 citing they were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. With this move, more than 200 Chinese apps, many owned by some of China’s biggest Internet firms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Sina and Bytedance are now no longer accessible in India.
This comes at a time when Indian and Chinese militaries are in the process of discussing a de-escalation plan at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
While Xi has previously called on armed forces to be alert and battle-ready, the People Daily reported his fresh remarks to the armed forces on November 25. His remark came while addressing the Central Military Commission. “He urged the military to improve their real combat capability through training and accelerate the building of new combat forces and the training system to further liberate and develop its combat capability,” said a report.
“China expresses serious concerns over India’s claim,” said Zhao Lijian.
“For four times since June, India has imposed restrictions on smartphone Apps with Chinese backgrounds under the pretext of national security. These moves, in glaring violation of market principles and WTO rules, severely harm the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. China firmly rejects them,” he said.
He added: “The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to observe international rules and local laws and regulations when doing business overseas. The Indian government has the responsibility to follow market principles and protect the lawful rights and interests of international investors including Chinese companies. China-India economic and trade cooperation, by nature, is mutually beneficial”.
India blocked 59 apps in June and a further 118 in September, including Tencent’s WeChat, Bytedance’s popular TikTok app, Baidu, UC Browser, Sina Weibo and a number of gaming apps.