China launches global data protection plan against app vetoes in the US and India

Foreign Minister Wang Yi on September 1. Michael Sohn / POOL EFE

The Asian country’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, has announced that China will launch an initiative for global data security following the latest US and India vetoes on Chinese mobile applications.

In a speech delivered during a cybersecurity forum in Beijing, the Chinese foreign minister promised that Beijing will not ask Chinese companies to hand over data obtained abroad, something that would violate the laws of other countries.

In recent weeks, the United States announced vetoes on WeChat and TikTok, two of the most popular social networks that have been developed in China, due to its suspicions that user data is shared with the Chinese government, something that would endanger national security.

Previously he had already alluded to similar reasons to justify his veto of the Chinese technology Huawei, which he accuses of having links with Chinese intelligence.

For its part, India has gone further and already banned almost 180 ‘apps’ of Chinese origin in the framework of the border tensions.

According to the foreign minister, the Chinese plan will ask countries joining the initiative to oppose cyber activities that use data to undermine national security and public interests of other countries.

Likewise, opposition to “massive surveillance against other countries” will be demanded, since national companies do not store data generated and obtained abroad in their countries of origin.

Under this initiative, assured the head of Chinese diplomacy, technology companies will not be able to install “back doors” or services to illegally obtain user data or to control and manipulate their devices, nor take advantage of the dependence of citizens on their products.

Finally, Wang called on countries to respect the “sovereignty, jurisdiction and governance of data from other countries.”

Regarding some of these issues, it should be remembered that Beijing rejects complaints from the US or India and has always defended that Chinese companies operating in other countries respect local laws, while companies affected by vetoes, such as TikTok or Huawei have repeatedly denied sharing data with the Chinese government.

In fact, when China has been accused of orchestrating cyberattacks against the United States, its response has been precisely to affirm that Washington is the one behind this type of offensive and it is the United States that launches surveillance campaigns against governments, companies or individuals of other countries.