- To tame the wayward Dragon, India bans 59 Chinese apps.
- The economic dragnet closes in on Beijing.
- More nations to encircle China…
Bengaluru: To tame the persistent Dragon, India on Monday announced to ban as many as 59 Chinese apps in the country which is combating China’s nefarious designs in Ladakh as well as the “Chinese Virus”, the COVID-19.
Amid simmering border tensions, the Government of India conducted a ‘digital strike’ against China to hurt its economy as New Delhi’s graded responses unfolded ahead of the Lieutenant-General level talks between the two countries, scheduled for Tuesday.
Martin Luther King, Jr., once said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” India has followed it and now forced China to get a taste of its own medicine.
The government order banning the 59 apps, including TikTok, will be applicable with immediate effect in both mobile and non-mobile internet-aided devices, as per Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, read with the applicable provisions of the Information Technology. (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.
The government said the banned apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, its defence, and the security of the state and public order.
This is the first time the government has outrightly banned these Chinese apps. Ten days ago, it had denied such restrictions, hoping that China would mend its way. However, seeing little progress, it went ahead with the crucial decision.
Earlier, the government had only issued advisories for the public to be wary of the Chinese apps.
The ban on TikTok is significant following its admission and assurance that their act of spying on iPhone users in the new iOS 14 beta updates will not be repeated.
In April, Indian intelligence agencies had listed 52 mobile apps linked with China, stating they were collecting user data and possibly also sending them “outside” the country’s borders.
On Monday, the government press release said “The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received a recommendation from citizens regarding the security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues.”
AppFollow, a Finland-based mobile ranking platform, had revealed that applications like TikTok have stomached the impact of Indian anger over the continued tensions between India and China, though it remained in the top 10 popular apps in India.
Incidentally, TikTok is more popular in India than in even China and the US. In the first quarter of 2020, it had crossed the 2 billion download mark with India alone accounting for 611 million downloads. The surge in popularity was also more during the pandemic when the locked-down people found it more engaging and entertaining.
Among the apps, TikTok, Club Factory, Xiaomi, Cam Scanner, UC Browser are expected to be the worst-hit because of high user volume.
The internet is highly censored in China, where the “Great Firewall” web filter is used for blocking VPNs. China is way ahead of other countries in setting its core ground rules by banning many international social media apps, thereby ring-fencing its digital ecosystem. Most Chinese netizens are unaffected by this internet censorship as the blocked websites are non-Chinese in content and language.
The problem arises only for foreign travellers who are left stranded due to the firewall as most commonly used apps and websites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogspot, Flickr, Tinder, and Netflix are blocked.
Even foreign media has been increasingly censored within China as there is a strict ban on news and information websites like The New York Times, The Economist, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Guardian, CNN, and BBC, all found to be publishing politically sensitive stories.
India, by its sheer population and consumer base, is the next best choice of companies to push the Chinese apps in India.
After the ban, local companies like Mitron, Namaste App will see a sudden surge in their servers.
India has already annulled the involvement of Chinese companies in many government infrastructure projects, and tenders floated by state-run companies among other actions. This move will also hit China the most as Indian app-based economy is equally valuable to China with more than 800 million smartphone users willing to consume content on their devices. This move will affect the likes of Baidu, Alibaba, TenCent, etc. which are all part of start-ups and digital eco-system in India.
The following is the list of apps banned by the Government of India, in alphabetical order:
APUS Browser, Baidu map, Baidu Translate, Beutry Plus, Bigo Live, Cache Cleaner DU App studio, Cam Scanner, Clash of Kings, Clean Master Cheetah Mobile, Club Factory, CM Browsers, DU battery saver, DU Browser, DU Cleaner, DU Privacy, DU Recorder, ES File Explorer, Hago Play With New Friends, Helo, Kwai, Likee, Mail Master, Meitu, Mi Community, Mi Video Call, Xiaomi, Mobile Legends, New Video Status, Newsdog, Parallel Space, Photo, Wonder, QQ International, QQ Launcher, QQ Mail, QQ Music, QQ Newsfeed,QQ Player, QQ Security Center, ROMWE, SelfieCity, Shareit, Shein, Sweet Selfie, TikTok, U Video, UC Browser, UC News, V fly Status Video, Vault- Hide, Vigo Video, Virus Cleaner, Viva Video QU Video Inc, Vmate, We Meet, WeChat, Weibo, WeSync, Wonder Camera, Xender and YouCam makeup.