China chides Ottawa's ban of WeChat app on government-issued devices

2023-11-01 09:26:34Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China strongly opposes Canada's latest ban on Chinese social media app WeChat on government-issued mobile devices, and urges the Canadian side to discard ideological prejudice, abide by economic principles and provide fair, just and non-discriminative business environment for Chinese companies, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry, said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

The ban on WeChat was announced on Monday after an assessment by Canada's chief information officer alleged that Tencent-owned WeChat, along with another app owned by a Russian company, "present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security," the Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Treasury Board of Canada. The ban was effective the same day.

The Treasury Board said it has no evidence that government information has been compromised, but the collection methods of the apps provide considerable access to a device's contents, and risks of using them were "clear," the Reuters report said.

In response, Wang said that Wechat is a social networking platform owned by a Chinese private company, and Chinese government has always required Chinese companies operating overseas to strictly follow local law and regulations.

"The ban was issued without hard evidence. It is a typical move of generalizing national security concept and abusing national power in the disguise of data security, to unreasonably crack down on companies in specific countries," Wang said.

In February, Canada also targeted Chinese short-video app TikTok by issuing a ban on its use from government-issued devices for security and privacy reasons, which observers said was a typical Western political witch hunt against Chinese technology companies. 

The company also said in another statement that it was "curious" that Canada moved to block the app only after similar bans were enforced in the EU and the U.S.

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