Trump signs executive orders to ban Tiktok, WeChat

DHARAMSALA, 7 Aug: US President Donald Trump has on Thursday signed executive orders to ban US firms from doing business with TikTok and WeChat, China’s two biggest apps.

The executive orders against video-sharing app TikTok owned by China’s ByteDance and multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app WeChat owned by Tencent declared the wide use of Chinese apps a “national emergency,” and a threat to “national security, foreign policy, and economy of the US.”

“Additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain,” Trump has stated in both the orders. 

President Trump has issued the orders under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a provision that authorises white house to bar US firms or citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with sanctioned parties.

The development came amid escalating tension between Washington and Beijing and that under the orders, US firms must stop doing business with the two Chinese companies within 45 days.

The executive order on TikTok cited concerns over the video-sharing app censoring contents on the behest of the Chinese communist regime, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre and the treatment of Uighur Muslims in East Turkistan, while Trump’s order on WeChat cited concern that the app could be used to spy on Chinese nationalists who visit or immigrate to the US.

The US President has cited concerns of Tiktok censoring content on the Chinese communist regime’s behest and that of WeChat being used to spy on Chinese nationalists who visit or immigrate to the US.

Once the orders take effect, the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will identify transactions covered by the prohibition on the Chinese apps.

WeChat and TikTok were among the 59 Chinese Apps banned by India on 29 June citing threat to national security and sovereignty.

While it remains to be seen how Beijing will retaliate over the ban by the US, in the meantime, China has warned Japan that a ban on TikTok would have a “large impact” on bilateral relations, TBS reported citing a source within the Japanese government.  

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