A month after India banned the Chinese messaging app WeChat, Beijng on Tuesday said that it has lodged a diplomatic protest and asked New Delhi to “correct its wrongdoings”.
Sources told The Indian Express that the protest has been lodged by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs.
WeChat, the multipurpose messaging and social media platform developed by the Shenzhen-headquartered Internet services giant Tencent Holdings, is extremely popular among Chinese nationals living, working, and studying in India.
It is also used by Indian nationals in China, and by many Indian businesses that have dealings with Chinese clients.
WeChat was among the 59 mobile applications with Chinese links that India banned on June 29, a fortnight after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with the Chinese army in Ladakh. TikTok, Helo, UCBrowser, ShareIt, Shein, Club Factory, and CamScanner were among the other apps that were banned.
Some clones or lighter versions of some of these apps were, however, still functional in India. On Monday, the government banned another 47 apps with links to China. WeChat stopped its services in India on Saturday.
Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said on Tuesday: “We have noted the relevant reports. On June 29, the Indian government banned 59 mobile apps with Chinese background including WeChat, which severely damaged the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. The Chinese side has lodged solemn representation to the Indian side and asked the Indian side to correct its wrongdoings.”
“I want to reiterate that the Chinese government consistently asks Chinese enterprises to abide by international rules and local laws and regulations when conducting external cooperation. The Indian government has the responsibility to protect the legitimate rights and interests of international investors in India, including Chinese businesses, in accordance with market principles,” Ji said.
“Practical cooperation between China and India is mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said. “Deliberate interference in such cooperation will not serve the interests of the Indian side. China will also take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”
On Saturday, WeChat users started to receive a notification that said, “Pursuant to Indian law we are unable to offer you WeChat at this time. We value each of our users, and data security and privacy are of utmost importance to us. We are engaging with relevant authorities and hope to be able to resume service in the future.”