China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok, and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app, WeChat.
Separately, Beijing also launched on Saturday a mechanism enabling it to restrict foreign entities that it deems a threat to its sovereignty and security, in a development seen as retaliation to US penalties against other Chinese companies such as telecom giant Huawei.
The latest Chinese moves come as tensions with the US escalate on a range of issues from trade and human rights to the battle for tech supremacy.
In a statement on Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce condemned Washington’s decision on Friday to ban TikTok and WeChat from US app stores, saying: “China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order.”
It then warned: “If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”
The US Department of Commerce announced the bans in response to a pair of executive orders signed in August by US President Donald Trump, in which he said the two Chinese-owned apps presented a threat to the country’s national security.
China and the companies, however, have denied US user data is collected for spying.