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"Which won't stop you using an existing installation, sideloading it from somewhere else, or using a web-based client."

 

What can stop you -- if you're an American citizen or resident -- is that it may be a Federal crime, depending of course on what the regs say. Trump's order is not made in a vaccuum: it's made pursuant to Federal laws with criminal sanctions for violations of the order.

 

Will we get to the stage where Customs finding WeChat installed on your phone is the same as finding that chunk of Burmese jade in your luggage? We'll have to wait to find out.

 

But I cannot over-emphasize that the Federal government is merciless when it comes to enforcing Federal laws.

 

Nonetheless, let's not lose focus on how Trump's order will impact WeChat's day-to-day business. American firms no doubt supply it goods and services of various types, some of which may be critical to its operations. Banking and technical stuff particularly come to mind. Trump is essentially walling WeChat off from the U.S. economy just like Iran is walled off. That makes it tough to stay standing. Ask ZTE.

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Insectosaurus

I think one can have opinions about this decision and on Trump (one should, considering what an appaling leader he is). What I am kind of surprised readning though, are posts that seem to consider it a problem if politicans portray the Chinese regime as bad/evil. I'd argue the Chinese regime are managing that quite well by themselves. Note that I'm not denying that the debate in the US is mostly about finding something to ramp up feelings towards ahead of the election, but we should still be careful about how we describe things. The fact that this is Trump's motivation in this current political landscape, doesn't change that fact that the Chinese regime *is* appalling and an opponent to all of us who considering basic human rights a good thing. The regime would love to play the part of the victim here. They're not.

 

Oh, and on the why not sanctions against Russia point; surely both US and EU sanctions towards Russia are still active?

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mungouk
1 hour ago, timseb said:

on the why not sanctions against Russia point; surely both US and EU sanctions towards Russia are still active?

 

The point was about new sanctions, such as those just applied to Carrie Lam this week. Putin still isn't targeted by any of the Magnitsky stuff.

 

Surely one of Trump's aims with demonising China with something new every day is to try to keep Russia out of the conversation during the election campaign. Last I read he had still steadfastly refused to even criticise Putin on anything at all. (Whereas with Xi and Kim Jong-Un he tends to switch between gushing praise and then back to the usual personal attacks.)

 

I don't think anyone here is defending the bad things that the Chinese govt does, but many of the anti-China moves coming out of the US now seem like pure smoke screen, or are maybe-justifiable but you have to ask "why did you wait until right now, 3 months before the election?"  

 

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". . . but you have to ask 'why did you wait until right now, 3 months before the election?'"

 

The Hong Kong sanctions are a response to this summer's NSL.

 

Remember ZTE and Huawei and all those tariffs etc: Trump has been working on China for much of his term, not just "the last three months."

 

If there has been any step-up in recent months, I think it's had more to do with Covid than anything else.

 

 

 

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mungouk
21 hours ago, feihong said:

Tencent will just bring back the web version of WeChat that runs in the browser.

 

India blocked 59 Chinese apps a month or so ago, including Tiktok, WeChat, Weibo, QQ (apparently in response to the "border clash" with China)... they also blocked the Tiktok website. Not sure about WeChat.

 

Of course, you could still use a VPN within the USA to access a blocked Chinese website. Oh the irony.

 

ETA: I just noticed there's a Whitehouse petition against the WeChat ban.  Doesn't seem likely to reach the required 100k signatures by Thursday, though.

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feihong
11 hours ago, mungouk said:

India blocked 59 Chinese apps a month or so ago, including Tiktok, WeChat, Weibo, QQ (apparently in response to the "border clash" with China)... they also blocked the Tiktok website. Not sure about WeChat.

That was with the support of all levels of the Indian government. Trump doesn’t have that level of support in Congress, at least not on the WeChat issue.

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feihong
15 hours ago, 889 said:

But I cannot over-emphasize that the Federal government is merciless when it comes to enforcing Federal laws.

Sure, they can make things difficult for WeChat, but ultimately they can’t actually stop people from using it unless they block wechat.com. And they will find this very difficult. The US government tried for years to take down wikileaks.org and ultimately failed. And this was a website that actively sought to publish classified government documents.

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Who in Congress on either side of the aisle is out there batting for WeChat?

 

As a general matter, Trump's steps against China have broad Congressional support. Not that he needs broad Congressional support to take those steps, all of which he's taking under existing legislation.

 

And as to the breadth and impact of U.S. sanctions, look at how they will impact the Hong Kong 11. Amex, Visa and MC will probably be cancelling their cards. Facebook has already acted. Netflix and Amazon accounts will be on the line. Perhaps most significantly, not only are the 11 and their spouses restricted from entering the U.S., so are their adult children. Call it the Uday Rule.

 

(Wikileaks by its nature is something of an outlaw organization. Assange doesn't care about that; he relishes it.  WeChat on the other hand  is part of a large, established public company with many ties to other large, established public law-abiding companies. They behave themselves. Or else. Think HSBC etc. Like I said, depending on the how the order is implemented, WeChat may in business terms become an international pariah. And I suspect Pony Ma does care about that.)

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feihong
7 minutes ago, 889 said:

Who in Congress on either side of the aisle is out there batting for WeChat?

No one in Congress needs to defend WeChat, they simply have to ignore Trump’s call to action. Congressional action is needed to enforce an effective ban on WeChat. TikTok being de-platformed from the App Store would be its death knell, but WeChat is a different beast. Its essential features would work fine in the browser, on desktop, or a side-loaded app.

 

We’ll have to wait and see what leaders in the Democratic Party say, though. I assume they’ll respond on Monday.

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"Congressional action is needed to enforce an effective ban on WeChat."

 

That's simply not true. Use of WeChat can be defined as a "transaction" in the rules and made illegal under existing law.

 

And just where is "Trump’s call to action"? There is none, because none is needed. It's the Commerce Secretary, not Congress, who will promulgate the rules.

 

Folks here are underestimating what the Federal government can do when it's determined to do something.

 

In the end, though, we still come back to the basic point that Tencent is a major corporate player in the world and as such can be expected to accept legal limitations on its activities in countries worldwide or be ostracized as a bad corporate citizen by the good corporate citizens of the world. That means that if the rules ban U.S. people or people in the U.S. from using WeChat, Tencent will take measures to limit their access to WeChat.

 

It's just not viable for Tencent -- which has quite a lot of non-WeChat operations, including investments in the U.S. -- to facilitate violations of U.S. sanctions.

 

Here's another reminder how deeply U.S. sanctions can bite:

 

"China's Huawei Technologies is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to U.S. sanctions and will be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips . . . Production of Kirin chips designed by Huawei’s own engineers will stop Sept. 15 because they are made by contractors that need U.S. manufacturing technology, said Richard Yu, president of the company’s consumer unit. He said Huawei lacks the ability to make its own chips. 'This is a very big loss for us,' Yu said . . .'Unfortunately, in the second round of U.S. sanctions, our chip producers only accepted orders until May 15. Production will close on Sept. 15 . . . This year may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips.' More broadly, Huawei’s smartphone production has 'no chips and no supply,' Yu said."

 

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/2/152678/US-sanctions-dry-up-chip-supply-for-China's-Huawei

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xinoxanu

Has someone tried to log in Wechat Web from abroad?

 

Was working fine until a few weeks ago, but now it tells me to download the Desktop app... which is pure spyware. 

 

Wondering if it's related to this (website implementation, US licences, etc), but I am  certainly not the only foreigner with this issue.

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2 minutes ago, xinoxanu said:

Wondering if it's related to this (website implementation, US licences, etc), but I am  certainly not the only foreigner with this issue.

It’s not, the web version was disabled years ago, at least here in the US. But I assume they can easily bring it back if they need to.

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xinoxanu
36 minutes ago, feihong said:

It’s not, the web version was disabled years ago, at least here in the US. But I assume they can easily bring it back if they need to.

 

Was working fine in Europe in mid-july

 

 

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I have the app. I find it super useful actually, as i use wechat for work alot, so i tend to have to type fairly long responses. It's quicker on a keyboard. Also provides a super quick way to get photos from my phone to desktop!

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xinoxanu
30 minutes ago, mungouk said:

Would you care to elaborate, share evidence etc?

 

Well, I don't have evidence nor I care to elaborate. Was just a personal comment.

 

But not hard to believe it's true all things considered.

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1 hour ago, xinoxanu said:

Was just a personal comment.

 

Not really, a personal comment is like - "I don't like it because its annoys me".  Saying its pure spyware isn't personal, which would be based on your personal situation or personal feelings towards it.

 

Im curious as the others now, saying its "pure spyware" does need some evidence or reason to base your opinion on. Otherwise your comments come off as a bit, well, poorly constructed.

 

EDIT - it also seems remarkable that you would steer clear of one version of an app as PURE spyware, but comfortable with the mobile version (assumed). Surely if they are hacking you, they'll do it through both versions? otherwise it would be incompetent.

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xinoxanu

You are correct.

 

Thing is that my PC has work stuff, private, financial and so on - while my phone doesn't (outside of Chinese-related stuff). Some of that stuff can be considered sensitive to Chinese eyes for different reasons (i.e, a proper uni essay on Chinese influence in the pacific requires me to read both sides on the topic), some stuff is confidential under NDA's I signed with my company (yes, I also have a company laptop, but I am not currently using it) and so on.

 

Data breaches are everywhere and I am sure Facebook knows where I've been enjoying my coffee since 2008.  Thing is that while I don't care about coffee, I do care about the above-mentioned stuff and while China 99,9% doesn't care about me right now... well who knows.

 

I mean come on, it's weird we are having this conversation in 2020... one needs to be careful about how their data is shared and where it ends up.

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