Wednesday, April 21

China says India’s latest app ban order violates WTO rules


China on Wednesday opposed India’s decision to ban 43 more Chinese-origin mobile phone applications on security grounds and contended that the move violated the rules of the World trade Organization (WTO).

On Tuesday, India imposed a fresh ban on Chinese-origin apps, the fourth time it has done so since the border standoff in Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) emerged in the open in May. With this, the total number of Chinese-origin apps banned by India has gone up to 267.

“We firmly oppose the Indian side’s repeated use of ‘national security’ as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background,” said Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong.

Ji called on India to withdraw the ban on the ground that it went against the WTO’s rules.

“We hope the Indian side provides a fair, impartial and non-discriminatory business environment for all market players from various countries, including China, and rectify the discriminatory practices violating WTO rules,” she said.

The Chinese government, Ji said, has always required that overseas Chinese companies “abide by international rules, operate in compliance with laws and regulations and conform to public order and good morals”.

China and India represent “opportunities of development to each other rather than threats”, Ji said, reiterating a line taken by Beijing since the border standoff began.

“Both sides should bring bilateral economic and trade relations back to the right path for mutual benefit and win-win results on the basis of dialogue and negotiation,” she added.

The border standoff involving tens of thousands of troops from both sides is currently in its seventh month, and several rounds of diplomatic and military talks have failed to lead to a breakthrough in disengagement and de-escalation at key friction points such as Pangong Lake, Hot Spring and Depsang.

Troops from both sides have now dug in for the harsh winter, and India has been rushing equipment such as winter clothing and shelters to soldiers in forward areas.

Since the standoff emerged in the open, India has tightened rules related to Chinese investments in the country and cracked down on Chinese-origin apps under provisions of the Information Technology Act, saying they “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

India initially banned 59 Chinese-origin apps on June 29, before banning 47 more on July 28, 118 more on September 2 and 43 more on November 24. Among the apps banned on Tuesday was the one of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s AliExpress app.