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India continues ban on Chinese apps including TikTok and PUBG

The apps were first banned in June as part of a long-running political dispute.

What you need to know

  • TikTok and PUBG will remain banned from App Stores in India.
  • The government has told developers that following reviews of the respective apps and many others, bans enacted in 2020 will remain in place.

Chinese apps including TikTok and PUBG will remain banned in India following a review, the government has told developers.

As reported by PTI over the weekend:

The government has sent notices to Chinese apps, including Tiktok, that the order to block them will be continued.

The notice has been issued by the Ministry of Electronics and IT after reviewing replies of blocked apps, according to a source who did not wish to be identified.

When contacted, Tiktok confirmed to have received a reply from the government.

By way of response, TikTok said it was evaluating the notice, and that it was “among the first companies to comply with the Government of India directive issued on June 29, 2020.” TikTok further stated “We continually strive to comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns the government may have. Ensuring the privacy and security of all our users remains to be our topmost priority”.

Some 59 Chinese apps were banned in India in June, and a further 118 including PUBG were added to the blacklist in September. According to the report, the Ministry of Information Technology blocked the apps under Section 69A of the Information Technology app “after learning that the apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

The bans were issued as part of a political dispute between China and India over territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). As explained by Android Central’s Harish Jonnalagadda:

Amidst a surging wave of anti-China sentiment following border clashes between China and India, the Indian government has banned 59 popular Chinese apps. Leading the list is TikTok, UC Browser, WeChat, Weibo, Helo, Likee, Xiaomi’s Mi Community and Mi Video, and so on.

This is the latest salvo in a series of barbs the two countries have traded over the course of the last two months. Back in May, Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed in a skirmish at Pangong Tso, a lake located in the Himalayas that sits along the line of control between the two countries. The ensuing tussle led to over a hundred soldiers being injured on both sides, with China claiming 23 square miles of Indian-patrolled territory in the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The fallout led to a call from the Indian government to boycott Chinese products, leading to demonstrations and protests in the country. Rather than banning hardware, the government turned to banning apps including TikTok and WeChat, and later in September, more apps including PUBG. Whilst PUBG is made by South Korea’s Bluehole, Tencent Games is the developer behind the title.

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