In­dia bans TikTok and other apps as Chi­nese bor­der ten­sions grow

The Guardian - - World - Han­nah El­lis-Petersen South Asia cor­re­spon­dent

The In­dian gov­ern­ment has banned TikTok, the hugely pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia app, as part of sweep­ing anti-China mea­sures af­ter a vi­o­lent con­fronta­tion be­tween In­dian and Chi­nese troops.

TikTok and 50 other Chi­nese-made apps have been banned over con­cerns they “pose a threat to sovereignt­y and se­cu­rity” of In­dia. Al­though the gov­ern­ment an­nounce­ment did not ex­plic­itly men­tion China, only Chi­nese-made apps have been black­listed.

The ban fol­lows a con­fronta­tion with Chi­nese troops two weeks ago along the dis­puted Hi­malayan bor­der

in which 20 In­dian sol­diers were killed. In­dia has ac­cused China of in­fring­ing na­tional sovereignt­y by moving thou­sands of troops and ar­tillery into dis­puted ter­ri­tory in Ladakh.

The clash was the worst con­flict be­tween In­dia and China in 60 years, and de­spite pledges on both sides to de-es­ca­late, satel­lite footage ap­pears to show China so­lid­i­fy­ing its pres­ence along the bor­der.

The de­ci­sion to ban TikTok, an app where peo­ple up­load short videos, is likely to cause re­ver­ber­a­tions through In­dia, where it has more than 200 mil­lion users and is the most down­loaded

app in the coun­try. Some TikTok stars there boast tens of mil­lion of fol­low­ers.

The In­dian gov­ern­ment said the ban was to pro­tect the data and pri­vacy of its 1.3 bil­lion cit­i­zens by block­ing tech­nol­ogy that was “steal­ing and sur­rep­ti­tiously trans­mit­ting users’ data in an unau­tho­rised man­ner to servers out­side In­dia”.

There have been grow­ing calls in In­dia for a boy­cott of Chi­nese goods and in­vest­ment. The gov­ern­ment has al­ready an­nounced plans to raise im­port du­ties on about 300 prod­ucts and ban Chi­nese firms from bid­ding on tele­com projects.

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