After President Donald Trump signed an order banning transactions with payment services Alipay, WeChat Pay and six other apps, the Chinese government on Wednesday accused Washington of abusing national security as an excuse to harm business competitors.

Tuesday’s order intensified the conflict with Beijing over technology, security, and espionage allegations, bringing Sino-US relations to their lowest level in decades. After the financial market chaos, the New York Stock Exchange announced last week that it would withdraw three Chinese telephone companies and then withdraw the plan on Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “This is another example of American bullying, arbitrary and hegemonic behavior.” “This is an example of the United States over-generalizing the concept of national security and abusing its national power to unreasonably suppress foreign companies. .”

Hua said that Beijing will take unspecified “necessary measures” to protect Chinese companies, and reiterated the government’s statement after the previous US sanctions were announced. Action is rarely taken.

Trump’s order cited concerns about apps that collected personal and financial data of Americans and handed them over to the Chinese Communist government.

Hua laughed at this argument, referring to the intelligence gathering of the US government.

Hua said: “It’s like a big boss. They steal, but then protect them from robbery.” “How hypocritical and absurd.”

China’s smartphone apps are facing similar opposition in neighboring India, which has blocked dozens of smartphones for security reasons due to a military deadlock in the disputed border area between the two countries.

Trump issued an order in August to ban transactions with popular Chinese-owned video apps TikTok and WeChat messaging apps.

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After these and President-elect Biden, this week’s order came into effect, because the swearing-in of office on January 20 makes the open government continue to use it.

Representatives from Biden’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Alipay is part of the empire of billionaire Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba and financial platform Ant Group. WeChat Pay is operated by rival tech giant Tencent. The others named in order are CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate and WPS Office.

The Trump administration has also restricted Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei and other companies’ access to American technology. A November order prohibits US investors from buying securities issued by companies deemed to have links to the Chinese military.

American technology companies worry that Beijing may take retaliatory measures, making it more difficult to conduct business in the world’s second largest economy.

Political analysts predict that Biden will try to resume cooperation with Beijing on issues such as climate change and coronavirus. However, due to widespread frustration with Beijing’s trade and human rights records and accusations of espionage and technology theft, few expected major changes.

Trump administration officials said they have not consulted with the president-elect team before the latest order.

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