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India bans TikTok, WeChat, and dozens of other Chinese apps (techcrunch.com)
1482 points by samdung 5 days ago | hide | favorite | 794 comments

I think this sort of response was inevitable and will be seen in more and more nations. China bans most of the popular websites and apps (including Wikipedia). The most recent trigger was the border standoff between India and China where Indian citizens could see and read both governments' responses, but Chinese citizens were only told Chinese govt's talking points.

This seems like yet another instance of the paradox of tolerance (reciprocity is a must have for a tolerant/liberal/globalized society): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Though if you apply your argument with rigor and reciprocity was in play, more countries should ban american social media which censors geopolitical rivals


Venezuela, Iran and Syria do censor US media and it's far more extensive than any censorship of foreign media within the US.




They do censor american social media. Like china and north korea obviously do

It's bound to happen. See the political battles being fought for data localisation, and control of Internet governing bodies.

So you're equating the banning of accounts to the blocking of the majority of internet?

America will literally fuck with you if you start doing this at scale. India can ban Chinese app since India can do this. China needed to understand this before escalating the border tensions with India.

The paradox of tolerance is bullshit though, as it's not based on empirical evidence.

It's just armchair philosophy used as justification for intolerance by intellectuals, the mental gymnastic people need to get over their cognitive dissonance.

AFAIK Plato came up with it to justify autocracy. That says it all actually.

This seems like a really wild stance to take on a paradox. Paradoxes aren't principles, laws, or theories. They're just self-contradictory or logically contrary statements; they don't require "empirical evidence" outside of the reasoning laid out in the paradox itself.

It would be better to say that people shouldn't use a paradox as evidence for something (e.g., claim aliens must exist because of Fermi's Paradox).

> paradox of tolerance

Unnecessary use of the 'paradox' label.

If a criminal shoots a cop, that is violence.

If a cop shoots the criminal back, is that the 'paradox of violence' ?

If a surgeon cuts open a patient with a knife, to treat a tumor, is that the 'paradox of violence' ?

Violence used to curb violence is peace. Peace used to ignore violence is violence.

There is nothing 'paradoxical' about not tolerating the intolerant. That is basic justice.

You had me until here:

>Violence used to curb violence is peace. Peace used to ignore violence is violence.

So an eye for an eye, eh? And if I use my eye to look away, I also deserve to lose it? I think you are a dangerous fellow. I'd sooner allow someone to say some mean things on the internet than let someone like you ever get into a position of power.

> So an eye for an eye, eh?

So if a criminal is shooting at you (violence), the police should not shoot the criminal (also violence)?

A better question is if a criminal shoots at you, can you fire back? Essential how much grown must you give in either scenarios so that you remain principled?

Well no, a claim is made and that is... unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. And this is then used as an argument in debates such as this one.

Are there documented cases of this happening or is it just a wild guess?

My bet is on the later.

There is empirical evidence from the multiple natural experiments that happened on subreddits at the start of Reddit.

I personally had to come up with arguments to justifiably censor people to stop the sub I became a part of, from becoming more of a chess pool.

I was a card carrying member of the market place of ideas/ free speech camp till 12-13 years ago, at which point it was clearer to me that giving free speech to certain groups was the same as allowing prions to proliferate in the food chain.

Which is why stronger moderation was required to reverse the descent into madness - it worked.

The people who were hateful bigots were ejected and made their own forums, where they promised never to ban dissenting voices.

Sure enough, they too started banning voices because

1) they weren’t there for free speech in the first place, just for indoctrination.

2) free speech meant that They became petri dishes for even more extreme material and eventually had to be banned or risk getting the entire forum/subreddit removed.


I’d love alternate interpretations for it, if possible, but the experience from these multiple natural experiments show that letting malicious Machiavellian actors on your platform will result in the abuse of normal users and the tolerance of the system.

> 1) they weren’t there for free speech in the first place, just for indoctrination.

This is such a great point and to me rings absolutely true.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

I think you're going to get heavily downvoted (HN loves the paradox of tolerance), but I wholeheartedly agree. I think it's complete nonsense, not to mention that its spirit is much better represented by older ideas (e.g. Mill's Harm Principle). "Tolerance" is kind of a weasel word anyway, essentially giving carte blanche to the one that invokes the paradox.

The evidence is in: HN hates the paradox of tolerance and loves the idea of having its cake and eating it, too. I'm not surprised, but I'm slightly surprised that you're surprised.

> "Tolerance" is kind of a weasel word anyway, essentially giving carte blanche to the one that invokes the paradox.

How so? Demonstrating that a principle makes for a poor foundation has little bearing on its ultimate validity.

> How so?

Consider a group of Neo-Nazis that want to stage a peaceful protest espousing their ideology. They get their permits and set out in a town square, chanting all kinds of anti-Semitic and white power nonsense. The question "are the Neo-Nazis being intolerant?" is a tricky one. On one hand, the answer is a resounding "yes," but on the other, they're the proverbial dog that's all bark and no bite.

Consider some local Jewish group that wants to stage a counter-protest. I'll give you the same question: are the Jewish protesters being intolerant? Again, it's a tricky one: they might argue they're being intolerant of the Neo-Nazis' intolerance (as I'm sure Popper would say).

The Neo-Nazis could, in turn, argue that they aren't being intolerant at all - they're just exercising their First Amendment rights. In fact, it's the Jewish counter-protesters that are the ones being intolerant! So we're just going around in circles debating who's being "intolerant," what "intolerant" means, and what it takes to go from "tolerant" to "intolerant" -- the classic sorites paradox[1]. This is all equivocation.

When we look at simpler tests like Mill's Harm Principle, the problem is simplified! If, the Neo-Nazis aren't harming anyone, they're free to do whatever they please -- as are the Jewish counter-protesters. Harm is a lot easier to wrap one's head around than "tolerance," so that's why I think it's a much more palatable litmus test.

[1] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sorites-paradox/

Because in that phrase, "tolerance" is not actually defined, or is defined in a way that does not match the common-sense usage of the phrase. It's kind of like how "racism" had to be redefined so that white people couldn't be victims of racism.

For me the paradox of tolerance doesn't make too much sense is because intolerance usually is recursive. There would be intolerance, and intolerance of intolerance, and intolerance of intolerance of intolerance, so on so forth. It is usually can be used as justification against other groups, since everyone is in the intolerance chain.

Maybe it should be paradox of even/odd level of tolerance? Also, in practice, it's hard to define which are the primitive intolerances and which are not.

And why should we believe you vs. Plato?

You shouldn't believe me or Plato, unless you like religion. You should believe in empirical evidence.

Is it based on empirical evidence? Is it based for example on longitudinal social studies? The answer is no.

And certainly absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence but it's baffling to me how people can cite this as fact, even if it might as well be bullshit.

I hope you realize that for the uninformed, like me, your response is as dubious as OPs. All you are saying that this is false and it has been proven by empirical evidence - trust me.

It explains cancel culture perfectly though.

> The paradox of tolerance is bullshit though

So do you tolerate intolerance?

Sorry, not falling in that trap ;-)

It is impossible to be tolerant of all things. The paradox of tolerance is one way of picking which things to be intolerant toward. There are lots of others, mostly worse. Ultimately though, we all have to pick.

Yeah, because you know it's a paradox.

et voila - we have a paradox

No, just a logical fallacy.

That isn't a natural dichotomy, it's silly to break down problems into that sort of black and white ("you're either for us or against us!" sort of nonsense). There are always multiple choices.

The real question is whether reacting with similar intolerance leaves you better off - or has any meaningful influence on the bad actors in question.

Diplomacy is full of these tradeoffs.

But it is you cannot be tolerant of all things. You can't simultaneously be tolerant of cats and of people who wish to ban cats. Those two things cannot simultaneously be accepted.

Yes you can. I tolerate cats but I also tolerate cat haters. If people wanted to ban cats, I can disagree with them, but I wouldn’t be opposed to tolerating them, hearing their opinions, and giving them a forum to talk. Tolerance does not mean endorsement or acceptance.

So you would tolerate someone rounding up and shooting cats?

don't we all tolerate intolerance on some level/topics?

it seems to be perfectly acceptable to be intolerant to some groups of people and religions/ideologies.

How is "tolerance" relevant to banning apps based on national origin?

This is nothing but good old fashion economic escalation.

The China censors things so we should too stance just seems to strengthen their position of censorship...

Quite the opposite. China (the country, not China the economy) is investing billions into developing tech companies to surveil their citizens. Those apps are all centrally controlled by the Chinese government. They can freely suppress discussions without you ever knowing. Hell, they don't even need to censor it but only need to make it less discoverable.

As soon as those apps reach the western hemisphere (or just anything outside China) and become dominant communication mediums, the Chinese government will be able to dictate opinion in the West.

Thats exactly how HN keep misteriously pushing things out of the top 30 no matter how many upvotes.. Also theres control in the flagging mechansim - as in shrugs, we don’t know, it was flagged by some users... shrugs again..

Im just making the case about HN not because I disagree with their job of keeping things civil, in fact this is much less toxic a platform than many others. My point is that whoever has the control can dictate whatever they see fit or serves their interest. For that reason I’d never use TikTok, not even to see what it is about because of who is backing it

In-Q-Tel is well known here. Do we know enough about Chinese investment? Are Huawei and ZTE private companies, private with state's investment, co-owned by the state, or owned by the states to further Chinese's causes with a private facade? There should be more discussion about them here.

What do you think the ad networks and social networks are all already doing? Reddit just deleted a whole subreddit... (which ultimately moved to its own website).

At some point it's not really about censorship or freedom of speech anymore... and more about not letting the other guys win.

I think quite the contrary, China has very limited interest in using propaganda to influence the western-sphere. I used to be very inline with these news but as my old friends from youth progress in their careers in China (many in those 'state based' sectors), I grow increasingly skeptical as I know more about their mundane jobs. Yes a lot of policies seem to be from a backward society, but actually a lot are benign and these perceived 'agenda' don't really exist in real life. To be quite frank technology-wise China is still vastly behind world's frontier.

I got a little baby boy so I couldn't edit in time. Apologies if the comment above doesn't contribute much to the discussion. I don't want to come across as irrational/delusional. What I wanted to convey is that through my friends I get some insights as how that technology involved is put to work for the government. What I understand has some distance from what's been reported. That's all.

How does this have anything to do with tolerance? India has never been known to highly value tolerance, and this move is about national security rather than censorship on the Chinese apps.

> paradox of tolerance

Unnecessary use of the 'paradox' label.

If a criminal shoots a cop, that is violence.

If a cop shoots the criminal back, is that the 'paradox of violence' ?

If a surgeon cuts open a patient with a knife, to treat a tumor, is that the 'paradox of violence' ?

Violence used to curb violence is peace. Peace used to ignore violence is violence.

There is nothing 'paradoxical' about not tolerating the intolerant. That is basic justice.

>Unnecessary use of the 'paradox' label.

No, it is not. You just didn't read up what the paradox is—or what a paradox is for that matter.

Tolerating the intolerant, or intolerating the intolerant - that's not a paradox.

It's no different from the police using violence on violent people.

A reddit user, who claims to have reverse-engineered the TikTok app[1], concluded:

> TikTok is a data collection service that is thinly-veiled as a social network. If there is an API to get information on you, your contacts, or your device... well, they're using it.

> For what it's worth I've reversed the Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter apps. They don't collect anywhere near the same amount of data that TikTok does, and they sure as hell aren't outright trying to hide exactly whats being sent like TikTok is.

It doesn't seem surprising now, given that Zoom, which is also being developed in China, acts like a malware application, too[2].

I'm glad, that India is more aware of the possible consequences of using any software made in China than, for instance, the government of the UK is[3].

[1] https://old.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/fxgi06/not_new_news...

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22748204

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52126534

I didn't realize Zoom was mostly developed in China! That seems bad.

> “Our product development team is largely based in China, where personnel costs are less expensive than in many other jurisdictions,” Zoom wrote in a regulatory filing.



China has a history of data snooping to support its totalitarian goals. Software and development that comes out of there should be considered to come with elevated risk. Some companies work with this by ensuring that China-only data is served from within China. If there is no audit of code pushed from China and ran in the US, I'd be suspect that no backdoors or anything else have been introduced by coercion from the state. Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but just because you are not paranoid, it doesn't mean they are not after you.

About that reddit comment, when pressed for evidence, turns out that guy's own research is conveniently "lost" because of a motherboard failure. And someone in the comment pointed out that most of the things he found suspicious about tiktok is actually regularly employed by apps like fb, twitter etc.

I'm not taking sides and I don't have the technical expertise to judge everything said there. It's just that I'd be much more comfortable if all of those "evidences" came from a more trusted source & not a reddit comment from god-knows-who.

Honestly, as someone who doesn't belong to China/USA/India and genuinely curious about this, I'm tired of seeing all this "but but communist evil" and not much in the way of actual evidence.

> "but but communist evil"

Noone told that. CCP is not even communism.

Chinese apps collect a fucking lot of data and Indian People innocently use those shit apps like ShareIt because inertia and maybe network effects. If you want to share a movie / song something with an ordinary indian citizen you'd have needed ShareIt which is a piece of shit. Technical ones among us use Google Files or something like that but I have so far refused to use ShareIt because it is such shady adware. Note that most Indians don't have Laptop / PC and USB / Pendrives aren't ubiquitous.

Now that there is some friction between China and India and given the nature of Chinese Governance these apps are threat to national security.

Ideally they could have banned PUBG also, the shit is ruining many lives.

I don’t think it has anything to do with communism. The CCP is not communist except by name.

> > If there is an API to get information on you, your contacts, or your device... well, they're using it. For what it's worth I've reversed the Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter apps. They don't collect anywhere near the same amount of data that TikTok does, and they sure as hell aren't outright trying to hide exactly whats being sent like TikTok is.

I find this unconvincing and reddit comments are not trustworthy at all.

Wouldn't data collection be limited by the mobile OS anyway? I actually have TikTok on my phone and it requested no special permissions, compared to most other apps which don't even let you view content without validating a phone number.

>Wouldn't data collection be limited by the mobile OS anyway

Maybe on iOS. But on Android of the ones that he listed, many can be retrieved without any permissions, such as

>* Phone hardware (cpu type, number of course, hardware ids, screen dimensions, dpi, memory usage, disk space, etc)

>* Whether or not you're rooted/jailbroken

I also suspect that they can get some or all of the network information without any special permissions either.

>* Everything network-related (ip, local ip, router mac, your mac, wifi access point name)

As for "other apps you have installed", it looks like it's getting it through the "retrieve running apps" permission, although I'm not sure whether that shows up as a permission prompt or not.

> I find this unconvincing and reddit comments are not trustworthy at all.

You should probably read the original comment on reddit, not just my summary of it. I found it to be extremely detailed and technically convincing, even though it's still hard to determine the level of its trustworthiness.

The fact that his computer conveniently crashed and cannot backup his claims is pretty convincing?

Well since that edit of his was from 1 day ago, hopefully he does show the little proof he has remaining soon.

I am wary of his claims too.

Yes, that part about not being able to back up his claims wasn't there, when I first read that comment yesterday. And I also don't like that he mixes the technical critique with the moral critique of TikTok, which makes him look biased.

Still, it's a well known fact that authoritarian regimes tend to use all the tools available to them for spying in foreign countries. That's why Russia's Yandex, VKontakte, and Mail.ru are banned in Ukraine since 2017.

That report could not distinguish between ISP and Cloud provider, also between Alibaba as an e-commerce and Aliyun as Cloud provider. The report also complained about possible SQL injection, but the database it accessed is a local SQlite database. Who cares if you inject your own database?

Seems fishy.

> There's also a few snippets of code on the Android version that allows for the downloading of a remote zip file, unzipping it, and executing said binary.

If these claims are true, a remote state actor can now take over 40% of young American's phones.

Imagine if they decided to shut off everyone's ability to communicate. That would be an incredible capability to possess in the event that they wanted to launch an attack or distract us. (I'm not saying that they would, but that we should be wary of the possibility.)

This is incredibly dangerous.

Furthermore, this does not seem like an accident in TikTok's design. This app is very well put together. Given the expertise involved, I can't see this as an "oops, we didn't know" oversight with respect to either alternative design choices or platform rules. It feels very deliberate.

Google should ban this app immediately for breaking the terms, and US legislators should make a law prohibiting it outright.

We have to do some more due diligence to make sure these claims are valid, but if they do turn out to be true, then we have some very serious issues to consider.

This is one of the few instances where I'll admit that I wish Facebook or Twitter had an answer for this.

Twitter did have an answer to this. It was called Vine and was very popular before they shut it down.

The "openness" of the west is being blatantly exploited, and yet for some reason people are still hesitant to call it out for what it is. Almost every significant US internet company is totally blocked in China. Until the US completely blocks WeChat, TikTok, Zoom and so on, China will continue to have a major geopolitical advantage.

the MOST SCARY stuff for me is apps that ask for your photos album permissions (so they can save to it, or upload a picture ). This permission basically gives them access to ALL your photos, including your dick pics, even when the app is in the background.

> The scariest part of all of this is that much of the logging they're doing is remotely configurable

How is this scary at all - much less the "scariest part"? The vast majority of the bullet points also seem standard and not worth paying attention to. I also read the Penetrum paper he linked which was similarly unconvincing.

How long will it take China to rebrand these apps under a different name ?

> TikTok is a data collection service that is thinly-veiled as a social network. If there is an API to get information on you, your contacts, or your device... well, they're using it.

They might as well be describing Facebook or Google. They are data harvesting services - first and foremost. The actual applications are only the bait yet since they're owned by the country that makes those great movies and TV series, somehow, they aren't as bad.

Almost all (except 1) are Chinese made.

I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with this https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/china-has-intruded-423-metre...

I don't see a problem with targeting Chinese-made apps, given how much China blocks from other countries. Free trade has to work both ways.

I don't see a problem with banning Spyware regardless of the country of origin.

The parent comment isn't talking about spyware.

Imagine if US.app and China.app were both clean, no spyware. If China subsidizes and allows China.app to have access to their domestic market but bans US.app, while US allows China.app to rake in billions of dollars in revenue in the US - this is purely an economic fairness and global trade issue.

There is no sane defensive argument against this. Chinese market is 1.3 billion people. It is massive. Not allowing western apps/services to serve this market is unfair in every imaginable way. I would say the US should ban all CCP services/apps, etc until China opens up its borders for any country to service their people.

This shouldn't just apply to US. Are you an Italian software company? Do you need to kow-tow to the CCP or plainly banned from serving in China? Swedish company? English? Australian? German? French? This has nothing to do with nationalism or politics which divides us all. It is about preserving global trade to the benefit of all nations and following fair practices and requirements set forth by the WTO.

All democracies need to get together and put light on this problem. I think that's happenning: https://www.ipac.global/

There is also no mystery around this - China does not want to expose their citizens to international values, services, culture and information. Thus, this diplomatic/economic pressure hits the nerve center of the CCP machinery.

One reason is if US.app is allowed on the Chinese market, it will dominate due to massive technology advantage and obliterate any chance of a homegrown industry. Open markets let players who are ahead get further ahead and they don't want to kneecap their own technology industry.

It is hard to read this response being written on the platform (YCombinator forums - HN) that is designed to disrupt established monopologies, duopolies; which is poised to cut through the decades of crud piled up in every imaginable industry, and offer a new perspective; a bold, fundamental rethinking of everything from quantum computers to wind energy, from payment services to logistics; despite of the existing competition, bureaucratic barriers and red tape, government mandates, political turbulence and geopolitical forces, vendor lock-ins and exclusive contracts, entrenched and exploitative practices, despite massive open market on an international scale and allowing anyone from any country to participate and compete.

> app has a massive technology advantage

Yeah, no.


Unfair to who?

Whether I agree with it or not (I don't). China gets to have it's cake and eat it too. Big win for China, wouldn't you say?

If everyone else is willing to leave the cake on the table, It's perfectly fair for China to have it if you ask me.

Did you not read anything you're responding to? Your whole comment is senseless in context.

I don't really think it is. Regardless of the moral/ethical issues with China and it's relationship with it's own population, this is China serving it's population.

It is in China's best interest to provide maximum value for China, that includes it's citizens. I don't think it's "unfair" for China to leverage whatever tools are at its disposal for the benefit of China.

In context the argument being presented here is that other countries are failing to do what is in the best interest for their populations. I don't think that's something that China should be taken to task for in this context.

India has huge operations of illegal but semi-tolerated scams that target gullible Americans with tech scams. India is a huge developing nation and likely to become a serious economic power. They are partially doing this off the back of taking wealth from where it is concentrated and bringing it home. I don't agree with it but it makes sense for India to do it to serve it's own people.

The original point was that China was seeking an asymetrical market which is unfair. I was responding to a comment that seemed to think that wasn't unfair to anyone. You seem to support the original comment in that China is indeed seeking an unfair advantage as long as it thinks it can get away with it. Not sure what you think you're rebutting.

India's scam economy doesn't really have anything to do with the discussion, but if you want to have a completely different discussion on that topic the US has been applying considerable pressure on their government to crack down on that practice.

I guess I don't understand your definition of the word "unfair" here. China isn't seeking an unfair advantage. They already have it. They've been allowed that advantage.

I don't see how that's unfair when it's been willfully given to them with little to no pushback. We're just finally starting to see it as demonstrated here.

Is it "unfair" for someone to eat the cake that you're not interested in eating?

I think the discussion of India's scam economy is very relevant here. It's something I would say is arguably more unfair in the sense it is literally robbery. China's apps may serve the state but they do also offer value to the users of it, they're an actual product.

But on the flipside of India's scam economy, being a tech support call center employee in many parts of India is a great steady job for many of the people who are employed in that field, especially compared to their other options. It's great for them, it's great for India and India's economy. It's not great for gullible Americans though.

I guess I just don't understand what you think is unfair here, or maybe moreso, what you think is fair. Seems like more a perspective issue. You're viewing it from the perspective of someone who doesn't see the benefit/value to China, or doesn't like what they're doing.

As I said, I don't agree with a lot of what China does, but it serves China.

I guess to be clear, I don't see where there is any fair side to any of this. What makes this more unfair than the wildly varying cost of labor in a global market? We exported all of our low-skill labor and manufacturing to places where labor is cheap. Now those places have thriving and rapidly growing economies and we're seeing the consequences of them. Domestically the labor market is dramatically different and upward mobility is at an all time low. People can't get the same jobs they used to at one company and retire 20 years later and live off their pension. Meanwhile in the places we exported all of our labor too, quality of life is going up across the board and many of the people who used to be paid almost slave wages and worked to the bone are starting to experience what would have been a middle-class life in the US 20-30 years ago.

Where was the fairness in that? I'm not sure the concept of fair can be applied here at all outside of X entity maximizing value for X, and that is what China has done.

So you do agree that they are seeking to maintain unfair trade. Cool.

Can you actually answer the question I am asking? Can you actually engage the discussion? I would actually like to know what you think and hear you discuss that as I'm legitimately interested in hearing what you think fair trade is and for you to explain what unfair trade is.

And not in a "I want to dunk on you way". I just want to understand your viewpoint.

Update: It's clear you aren't actually interested in having a discussion about this. Which is sad.

It's sad that people are so taken by their China is bad mentality that they're unwilling to think about China in any other terms. I don't condone many of the actions of the PRC but they made some brilliant decisions about economic policy with a lot of forethought that is has allowed them to grow their economy at an astronomical pace.

We like to beat our chest about free-market principles in the US but it's a vague fantasy at best. Meanwhile China has done the opposite. China is communist, but uses all the best parts of free market values where they need to.

China has built their economy to allow China to grow rapidly and we have allowed them to take our industrial base away from us because of the relative cost of labor. I'd have called that an unfair deal if they hadn't planned ahead so well.

Now as we see the see-saw turn toward their end it becomes obvious. China set themselves up to succeed and we've set our selves up to fail.

But by all means, reject China wholesale because of the moral/ethical issues. It's not like we don't have our own.

I don't feel the need to engage in a lengthy discussion about what would be fair, because 1) In this specific instance the 'fair' version of things is incredibly obvious and 2) The conversation wasn't about what would be fair to begin with, it was about what was unfair. You don't need to know how to heal a wound to recognize it.

No one here is arguing that China hasn't put themselves in a good position. That much is obvious. I honestly don't see how you expect a discussion when you aren't responding to, or participating in the thread at hand.

The reality is closer to

"Imagine if US.app and China.app were both spyware"

But India only banned the China spyware and left the US spyware roam free. If they truly cared about spyware, many other apps do similar stuff, scooping just as much data.

Even if you had no spyware, you cannot compete in China. So, twisting the topic about Spyware left and right does disservice to the the truth of the what's going on.

Spyware problem (which I condemn) is irrelevant and orthogonal.

The big difference here is that the US is not engaged in an armed, public war with India over territory. And the US is currently friendly with India.

The US spyware might be a problem in the future. But the Chinese spyware is a big problem right now. Both require different strategies to counter. And the immediate concern and first priority will always be China

Sure, but I'm not just talking about spyware. China bans lots of 'Western' apps and services that aren't spyware; Wikipedia is an obvious example.

I don't understand that argument. It sounds like you're saying that the way to get freer trade is for all parties to restrict trade, since "free trade has to work both ways."

I'm saying free trade ought to be reciprocal.

If one side is gaming the system by blocking foreign competitors while competing in those foreign markets, then that side should in turn be blocked until they're willing to change their tune.

China can be allowed to compete in other markets when they allow others to compete in their market.

Then the outcome is that a country can claim to support free trade while deliberately not supporting free trade, since "it's the other countries' fault."

No, they can't. If the US were to ban Chinese apps, and then China relented and allowed in American apps, and then the US kept the ban, that would make the hypocrisy clear.

You could even made it explicit in the law, similar to what the EU is doing for travel reciprocity now that the coronavirus situation isn't as bad: have the text of the law explicitly say that the ban automatically lifts if the other country cooperates.

That’s exactly what I’m saying. To actually get free trade a country has to refuse to reciprocate in trade restrictions. This is my point, it’s not “free trade” for one country to match other countries’ restrictions on trade.

Sure, but it could pressure countries to actually engage in free trade.

I think that was exactly the intended irony of that comment.

China restricts the freedom of its citizens, so other countries should restrict the freedom of their own citizens in exchange?

It's a cost benefit analysis. We may value free speech, but not so much that we are willing to protect the right to tell 'FIRE!' on a crowded theatre. The cost of that 'freedom' is not worth the benefit. Access to a few Chinese apps is not worth the cost, which is providing China with access to sensitive personal data (WeChat) and/or subtle propaganda tools(TikTok). Anyway, if you ban either app, alternatives will quickly fill the void and the consumer loses nothing.

I don't see it that way. This is not freedom at all. But throwing others out of your home turf while cornering others' markets. Business should be two way thing.

China restricts other countries’ access to its market - other countries retaliate

Yeah: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-india-china/indians-hold-f...

China is basically using these apps as spyware.

I run WeChat on a separate phone with LineageOS and monitor its actions via the XPosed framework. It regularly scans my Wi-Fi network, checks the list of installed apps, randomly accesses sensors, and does plenty of other dubious things.

There was also a period of time where if you didn't give it Location permissions, it wouldn't let you login to WeChat. With LineageOS I was able to "give" it the permission but hand it fake sensor data instead of actual hardware data from the OS side.

I'd never think to run WeChat on a closed-source OS like iOS that doesn't give access to these kinds of introspection.

That said I don't necessarily think Facebook's or Google's set of apps are necessarily better in terms of spying, but at least it's possible to message people using a pure web interface without downloading anything, which WeChat doesn't let you do.

How does this compare with the behavior of other social media apps?

Do you know Android tracks your location even after turning on Airplane mode?

GPS tracker works via satellite and is a receiver. It is not a transmitter. Airplane mode turns off cellular services. So realtime tracking is not possible unless Airplane mode is turned off. Android can record tracker information but it has no way of transmitting it if the phone is in Airplane mode.

Yes & it immediately transmits once it comes back to cellular service.

You're confusing Android with iOS. Android builds with Google services let you disable A-GPS (and in fact ask you if you want it on initial setup). iOS does not.

This. Tiktok is clearly a data vacuum masquerading as a social media platform.

Aren't all social media platforms guilty of being data vacuums?

I'd rather not be feeding my draconian regime

... You think the Google/Facebook/The US government aren't insidious agencies?

The whataboutism in this thread is really tiresome. Engage an argument on its own merits. Don't rely on rhetorical fallacies.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

Is it really whataboutism to compare TikTok with American social media apps? They seem to be very similar products and I'm not convinced that chinese applications collect more data. Shouldn't this be controlled by OS permissions anyway?

There is nothing more to this than anti-chinese hysteria.

> Tiktok is clearly a data vacuum masquerading as a social media platform

For any value of "TikTok," including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, iMessage, gmail, &c.

I know (and in fact use) non-standard apps for Facebook and Reddit (they are superior IMO), does TikTok contain one?

I can agree that allowing alternate clients is a step further than what Tiktok provides, but alternate clients are still piping your data into their vacuum.

Is it coincidental or incidental to their border dispute actions?

that may have escalated it but I think this was coming and honestly Chinese companies being in Gov's lap called upon itself.

Our (India) data is already a public property due to security breaches in Aadhaar. What more can TikTok get?

Like your interests? Your behavior? Your realtime location? Your health issues? Your mood? Any event that is going on in your life? Like someone died, or someone is having a birthday or you are attending a wedding?

Oh you have a wedding to attend do you? Here let me show you this ad for gifts that you can purchase at 50% discount. Oh but what about the dress that you need to wear? Here, buy this suit with 20% discount. Oh wait, you need to fly to say Delhi from your current location. Here let me offer you tickets to book your flights to at 10% discount. And while we are at it, let us retarget you endlessly, wherever you go, whichever site you visit! We will follow you. Until you buy one of the above!

Do you not see how quickly one can profile with realtime access to data? Aadhaar breach did not even include biometrics. But I bet your phone (if Chinese made) with a fingerprint or face lock would not only have your biometrics but also know every single detail about you in realtime through these apps. Aadhaar data breach is pale in comparison to this! And you have been feeding realtime data to a draconian regime for the past decade. If Aadhaar data breach upsets you, you should be frightened with what data gets collected by these social media companies.

Being on social media is a zero sum game. Either you use these platforms & give up your privacy or don't use them. These companies entire business model is about tracking your life.

Aadhaar has data like DOB, PAN, Address, Passport details which can be used for identity theft etc. It's a nightmare once it happens to anyone.

You asked what more does Tiktok (Social media) collect that Aadhaar doesn't already provide through a data breach? My answer was to that question. It has nothing to do with implications of an Aadhaar data breach. If that was your question, I would have answered that specifically.

Now coming to your new point: The details that are taken by Social Media platforms are transferred to third-parties too. And identity theft is not as big a problem as invasive tracking and profiling is. Identity theft happened before Aadhaar existed and will continue to happen whether we have Aadhaar in the future or not.

The former needs someone to actually misuse breached data. The latter is being misused in realtime. And what do you feed these social media companies apart from your realtime data? Your DOB, your address and your phone number. Then they ask you for verification that you are a real person and not a bot. For that you have to hand over your passport/aadhaar/voter ID/PAN or any detail that will confirm your identity and address location! Like I said, you can't even compare the two! Aadhaar is nothing in comparison to what is collected by social media companies and handed over to third-parties like Cambridge Analytica.

And if you think you can dox someone only through Aadhaar then you are so wrong my friend. You can literally dox anyone who has interacted online to some significant degree. Traces of their digital footprint is left every where on the internet to be exploited.

The Sino-Indian border dispute is one of the most frightening things going on right now. Two nuclear superpowers are fighting with "rods and swords"[1], restrained only by, well, restraint. Covid and police violence are bigger issues right now in my opinion, but a nuclear war could get worse than either one quite quickly.

That said, I'm glad to see this not getting much press coverage in the US. The political discourse here has shown a willingness to throw gasoline on any fire, and the last thing we need is our fearless leader weighing in on an already tense and dangerous situation.

[1] https://defencenewsofindia.com/ghatak-and-16-bihar-troops-to...

Personally, as an Indian, I don't see this situation escalating too much, especially not anywhere close to a nuclear war. Indian and Chinese leadership is mature enough to understand that a serious conflict will hurt both their ambitions. Plus, neither can really afford a war right now.

You're probably right and I hope you are.

I wonder whether that's intentional?

China uses a different coordinate system inside the country (GCJ-02 vs WGS-84) and it results in discontinuities whenever you try to display a map of a border region (for example, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge).

That incident ... I doubt it is that.

Larger tensions and security concerns, yeah I'm willing to bet it is a larger issue.

This is a right move, in my view.

Chinese infiltration takes a myriad of forms and data collection is one of the biggest.

And those apps form a basis for click-of-the-button hacking.

And ordinary users will find it very very difficult to determine if an app is Chinese made or not.

And the Chinese govt. will have it's fingers in everyone of them, one way or the other.

What I do worry now is that since China has been exposed, it will resort to even elaborate deceptive methods to hide itself and it's infiltration.

China is not to be trusted.

You'll see the same attitude to the US from the rest of the world too

Yes. Especially in South America.

However, US is not about expansionism.

Its about trade and control. It wants markets, trade and resources.

China is about expansionism and lacks moral or ethical compass.

> However, US is not about expansionism.

... wait, what? Since when? You don't think US military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are about expansionism?

Besides, the concept of expansionism includes economic expansion, not just border expansion.

Iraq and Afghanistan are ecomonic and geopolitical reasons as well.

Economic expansion is slightly lesser degrading than border expansion.

You may bankrupt a man, he will sulk and move on, but if you occupy his land, he will lash out.

It's still expansionism, and strange to say it's not.

It is not. US invading Iraq and Afghanistan was not to expand its territories. You can argue that the invasion was based on false information that Iraq had WMDs or Afghanistan harbored Taliban (which in turn sheltered Osama bin Laden) or you could say that the invasion was to topple dictatorial regimes or you could say that US invaded these countries for oil. Whatever explanation you give it doesn't amount to expansion of territories. Expansion is far far worse. Think colonization. Think subjugation. Think apartheid. Think slavery. This is apart from death and destruction that expansion causes. China is expansionist. It wants lands and more lands. It will do anything to get it. Unless the oppressed country resists it.

This is bonkers and absolutely doublethink.

I guess you Americans are not familiar with ideologies like the Big Stick Policy and Manifest Destiny. (coined 1845).

I am not an American. I am an Indian. Stop assuming stuff.

And who better to know about expansionism than Indians? We have been colonized multiple times in the past. We know the exact difference between expansion and invasion. An invasion can turn into colonization if the oppressing party annexes territory and sets up a Government of its own against the interests of the people. US hasn't annexed Afghanistan and Iraq. No matter how much you try to paint it that way it isn't the case.

Manifest Destiny is a cultural thing in the United States. It is not official State policy. The term was itself coined by a journalist (John L Sullivan).

We have a similar cultural quote in India called "Akhand Bharat" where we wish to go back to the time where Bharat was one territory and not divided into Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Doesn't mean we go around conquering neighboring Nations. It is not our official State Policy. But we have definitely had multiple Wars with our neighbors. We have even invaded Pakistan multiple times: Once in 1965 when our Army marched all the way to Lahore and in 1971 when we invaded East Pakistan and liberated it from its oppressive dictatorial armed forces creating Bangladesh in the process. In neither of these cases did we annex territories. We had all the opportunities to do so! We did not.

Every big power has something similar to the "Manifest Destiny". China has one too. It is its Silk Road project called the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative). Except that others aren't actually acting on it and expanding their territories. China is!

> And who better to know about expansionism than Indians? We have been colonized multiple times in the past.

Sure, we can agree that USA's invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was not "colonization" technically, in the 1800s sense of the term.

However, what else would you call all out war, military occupation, hanging the president of the country, etc.? BTW, occupation continues until this day, in both of these nations.

> Manifest Destiny is a cultural thing in the United States. It is not official State policy.

Have you read about the history of the U.S in the 1800s? Manifest Destiny may not have been written into the constitution, but it was absolutely the policy of many leaders of the U.S in that era, and calling it "a cultural thing" actually dumbs down what is an extremely powerful idea behind the forming of the U.S as a nation.

> We have a similar cultural quote in India called "Akhand Bharat" where we wish to go back to the time where Bharat was one territory and not divided into Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

China has a similar idea with the "One China" rule, and how it basically does not consider Taiwan to be it's own nation. Except, unlike India, it's quite clear than China is willing to invade Taiwan at some point in time (unclear when, but the tensions will never cease).


The 1800's style colonization is certainly no longer present, but a variation of it is certainly present, and usually military invasion is not the main tool to achieve domination (however, in the case of Iraq, Afghanistan, it clearly was).

> China has a similar idea with the "One China" rule, and how it basically does not consider Taiwan to be it's own nation. Except, unlike India, it's quite clear than China is willing to invade Taiwan at some point in time (unclear when, but the tensions will never cease).

I can understand China's fascination with Taiwan under One China principle. But this One China principle doesn't extend to South China Sea or the artificial islands it created. Nor does it extend to China Occupied Ladakh. This is where their principle falls apart and becomes expansionist. They even claim Arunachal Pradesh in India to be theirs when the people of Arunachal Pradesh have since ancient times always had affinity with Indians than with Chinese.

> Have you read about the history of the U.S in the 1800s? Manifest Destiny may not have been written into the constitution, but it was absolutely the policy of many leaders of the U.S in that era, and calling it "a cultural thing" actually dumbs down what is an extremely powerful idea behind the forming of the U.S as a nation.

True. But that was 1800s and this is 2020. Times have changed. People change. Politics change. What was true then is not necessarily true now. USA had slavery in the 1800s too. Doesn't mean it follows the same policies now. We need to understand that Democratic Nations always undergo changes. The Obama era is distinct from the Trump era which in turn is distinct from the Bush era. That is the beauty of Democracy! So what US was in the 1800s isn't going to be the same in 2020s.

> However, what else would you call all out war, military occupation, hanging the president of the country, etc.? BTW, occupation continues until this day, in both of these nations.

Define "occupation". Having an army base in the country is not "occupation" by any means. If that is considered occupation then what would you say when India sent its Army (called the Indian Peace Keeping Force) to Sri Lanka to fight the LTTE terrorists in the Sri Lankan Civil War? We had our Army stationed there for years (1987 to 1990) until it was called back! The LTTE terrorists consider it an invasion. They assassinated our Prime Minister in response. So yeah, this was not occupation neither was when US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Was it an invasion? Yes it was! There is no doubt about it. But to call it "occupation" is stretching it to be honest with you.

US has an army base in Japan, South Korea and Australia. So is US occupying Japan, South Korea or Australia?

> US has an army base in Japan, South Korea and Australia. So is US occupying Japan, South Korea or Australia?

Technically it's not military occupation by definition, but if China had a military base in one of its ally's territories, would you try to claim that it is occupation? And is it only not occupation if the US does it?

> Technically it's not military occupation by definition, but if China had a military base in one of its ally's territories, would you try to claim that it is occupation? And is it only not occupation if the US does it?

Exactly! China has 3 military bases. India has 6 military bases. Those don't count as occupation if the country has requested for it or there is a deal between the two Nations. Neither should US military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan count as occupation. When you "occupy" something you actually end up controlling everything within that territory. Okay you can say that US occupies a military base in Iraq/Afghanistan. But that is all that its occupation is restricted to. Never the entire country!

My point is that it's a technicality. On the surface, legally, these countries are not officially occupied by the US. But if any of these countries tried kicking the US out... what do you think would happen?

> But if any of these countries tried kicking the US out... what do you think would happen?

It has already happened. Thailand asked US Air Force to vacate in 1976 after the Vietnam War. USAF closed its base and vacated.

But why would they kick US out without reason? The US has a military base based on either a deal or an agreement. It depends completely on the deal/agreement in place. If the military base was paid for by the US Government then US would definitely not vacate it till the agreement is over. If the base was as a result of an invasion then US won't vacate until it is absolutely sure that the Government in place will not fall into hands of Warlords again. These are perfectly reasonable in my opinion. But if a request is made and US feels that the request is legitimate it will definitely quit the base. It has already demonstrated it in Thailand.

Let us not forget that US vacated Japan too.

> It has already happened. Thailand asked US Air Force to vacate in 1976 after the Vietnam War. USAF closed its base and vacated.

Right after the US lost a war... I doubt the US was prepared to fight Thailand over it at the time and is why they capitulated. But had US defeated North Vietnamese forces, I doubt the US would have allowed Thailand to kick them out.

> Let us not forget that US vacated Japan too.

Except they didn't. You've heard of Kadena Air Force base in Okinawa, right? What about Misawa, or Yokota?

> But if a request is made and US feels that the request is legitimate it will definitely quit the base.

Except in Japan where the US keeps buying influence with the LDP to subvert Democracy. Only about 25% of Japanese citizens support the existence of the base and multiple referendums have been held by people to remove the base.

Also, Guantanamo in Cuba, where the Cuban government has consistently declared the US occupation there illegal since 2002.

How would you justify the genocide of uighur Muslims in that case? Let's be honest with ourselves. The USA is not the same as China. Let's not lie to each other to prove non issues.

How is this a rational response to what I wrote? You think calling a spade a spade is too much? US is expansionist, that much is clear. Absolutely in no way am I saying that makes the US the same as China in all aspects. Both are unique in their approaches to global domination.

> However, US is not about expansionism

I love how the world paints China as an aggressive power while conveniently forgetting the completely unjustified and unwarranted invasion of Iraq by America.

From a neutral POV, China has only 'invaded' some islands. America has toppled governments and literally occupied sovereign nations - all under the guise of "national security".

And it all happened in the distant past of just 17 years ago

>> From a neutral POV, China has only 'invaded' some islands.

You should read about China's antics in African countries.


Remind me when they drop bombs on an African country's capital and hang its leader, all on a false charge of possessing WMDs.

I see absolutely no way that any American can ethically justify the invasion of Iraq.

> Remind me when they drop bombs on an African country's capital and hang its leader, all on a false charge of possessing WMDs.

They didn't. On the other hand they were the master of Khmer Rouge, who carried out a genocide killing millions of Cambodians in 1970s - [0]

> In April 1975, Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia, and in January, 1976, Democratic Kampuchea was established. During the Cambodian genocide, the CPC was the main international patron of the Khmer Rouge, supplying "more than 15,000 military advisers" and most of its external aid. It is estimated that at least 90% of the foreign aid to Khmer Rouge came from China, with 1975 alone seeing US$1 billion in interest-free economics and military aid and US$20 million gift, which was "the biggest aid ever given to any one country by China". In June 1975, Pol Pot and other officials of Khmer Rouge met with Mao Zedong in Beijing, receiving Mao's approval and advice; in addition, Mao also taught Pot his "Theory of Continuing Revolution under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat(无产阶级专政下继续革命理论)". High-ranking CPC officials such as Zhang Chunqiao later visited Cambodia to offer help

You should also check out the short war with Vietnam in 1979, where atrocious crimes were committed against civilians.

You should finally read about Chinese's systematic effort to suppress Tibetans - [1], or more recently, Uyghurs

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_Rouge [1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinicization_of_Tibet

If we're going to talk about countries using their proxies to control and suppress native populations, then we can have an entire discussion about America's role in South America.

I'm not condoning China's past at all - I condemn what they did, and what they are doing right now. But any criticism of China can't come from a position of moral superiority, as it often does from western critics.

> During the 1980s, China and the United States – together with their allies – backed Pol Pot in exile in order to counter the power of the Soviet Union and Vietnam, providing the Khmers with intelligence, food, weapons, and military training

From the wiki you linked

Wrong continent and it was the Iraqi people who convicted and hung Saddam.

Apparently the entire south China sea belongs to China, even the Philippines seas.

You should do some research on their involvement with debt traps and taking over foreign land.

The difference is you can just wait out US presidents. The US is significantly slower at getting things done, and for the most part everything the US does is going to be at risk of going public through whistle-blowers or the freedom of information act.

In a democratic country there are steps you can take against the company. With China everything is a black box. There are explicit rules that forbid you from taking any action against them. China itself has banned tiktok in their country.

Actually I'm looking forward to it, it would increase pressure to care about privacy or at very least help competition to grow.

How long will it take China to rebrand these apps under a different name ?

TikTok tried and that tactic didn't seem to work.

Covid cases are on rise in India. Government didn't handle lockdown well to accommodate guest (migrant) workers and they were stranded. On top of all these, lives of Indian soldiers died recently in a clash with Chinese soldiers and China is continuously testing limits at Galwan Valley. You need a disruptive breaking news to crush all these and prove Government is in control. This is simply that. This is nothing but fueling the anti-China sentiment growing in the country. This will temporarily relieve government from answering the other growing concerns.

It's also quite ironic that so many companies with strong Chinese funding are still operating. Chinese smartphone makers are also doing great in India despite economic slowdown. OnePlus recently did a flash sale and sold out.

It'll be interesting to see what's going to happen in Long term. But this one, it's just a spicy headlines.

no. there's more to it. THis stand-off, as India realizes, isn't going to end soon so country is preparing for that [0]. China is attempting to threaten/bully India for many reasons one of which is stopping India from creating near-border infrastructure. Prior governments ignored border infra on the Chinese side to appease China while China continued to develop infra on its side of the LAC. Modi has changed this policy [1].

0: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/ladakh-sta...

1: https://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/the-end-of-indias-panipa...

As i said earlier in the thread.

India must shift its trade integration into democracies and wean away from China.

Everything must have a beginning and this is the right time for India to wake up and stop its indirect economic support toan authoritarian bully.

Might be a form of shifting the narrative and scapegoating for sure. But you have to admit that recent events have outlined a significant shift in Indian-Sino foreign policy. I don’t see this being reversed any time soon.

I'm always skeptical about these government does x to distract from y arguments.

I highly doubt the indian government woke up one day and said "how can we distract the public from COVID today?" and someone replied "lets ban a bunch of highly popular mobile apps and games our citizens use to entertain themselves on the internet".

That seems like a great way to make them less distracted, not more.

Boycotting China is not a binary thing. Banning Chinese funded Indian startups and Chinese mobile companies which have big plants in India(and support thousands of jobs) is a complex thing.

On the other hand, banning spyware from the country you are currently in conflict is common sense and not that tricky. It's far more than spicy headlines.



Seems like they learned from Trump and the change in visa/immigration to distract the public.

People downvoted you unjustly. Your position is substantiated.

The amount of actual impact on trade in between China, and USA is completely microscopic in relation to the amount of noise, and commotion.

One can not believe that sides genuinely oppose each other, rather than doing a theatrical performance with unspoken mutual understanding.

I'm seeing lots of comments about national security-style concerns, and framing this in terms of the recent India-China skirmishes. That all makes sense.

Where I think a lot of folks are missing the point is that this is also a tremendous boost to local Indian entrepreneurship. One of the really clever aspects of China's Great Firewall is that it keeps out international competition, which would crush local startups. By banning more advanced, foreign competitors, India gives its local entrepreneurs a chance to grow hugely successful domestic apps, which can then compete internationally.

While I agree about symmetric response to China, here is the problem:

> By banning more advanced, foreign competitors, India gives its local entrepreneurs a chance to grow hugely successful domestic apps, which can then compete internationally.

If India bans international apps from competing within India, wouldn't Indian apps from these new found enterpreneurs expect the same response from other countries? There is a paradox here.

Why should any country allow Indian apps if they cannot compete in India? You realize this is the exact same situation as what India is doing with China. Now replace China with India.

What hypocrisy!

Thing is chija is already restricting outside entrepreneurs. I don't think that's hypocrisy, it's a two way street

There's no paradox here. The balkanization of the web is a foregone conclusion. And not just between geopolitical rivals: the EU is dead set on creating a local version of FAANG companies.

EU creating its own FAANG would be a great thing for consumers - more competition. Americans wouldn’t mind using EU based services. I personally already use one such critical service - Email.

When you turn inwards(like China) and then expect widespread adoption and cooperation whilst banning domestic competition, do you really think that’s better for India?

India has the capability to compete at the global level without turning inwards. Entrepreneurs in India can and will compete internationally. When you have virtually no international competition, the overall incentive to compete is reduced and the quality with it.

>wouldn't Indian apps from these new found enterpreneurs expect the same response from other countries?

I am from India, and I don't think this would matter a lot if the company doesn't suffer from grand delusions of trying to go global etc. There are a lot of very idiosyncratic things about the culture here (just as in other countries) where it makes a lot of sense to develop India specific apps.

Also, the nature of innovation itself would change if an app is developed to cater primarily to people in India. A perfect example of this is the recently introduced UPI payments scheme, which if I understand correctly is already far ahead in terms of convenience when compared to payments services in developed countries. And I am very thankful neither Facebook nor TikTok controls it in any way, shape or form!

Otherwise, I agree with your sentiment, as it applies generally to trade policies between true allies. The only problem I have is that China is an exception when it comes to these bilateral trade policies, because they have a long history of bullying [1] smaller neighbors, and they can rarely be trusted when it comes to any kind of neighborliness. People who are pro-China should come and live a few years in these regions, and I expect they won't remain pro-China for very long.

And then throw in the rampant IP theft, and it seems to me that pro-China advocates are acting like useful idiots.

I will add a very ironic thing I read recently by one of those useful idiots, who said "Thank God this didn’t start in somewhere like India, because there’s absolutely no way that the quality of Indian governance could move to react in the way that the Chinese have done" [2]. The irony of course is that China is trying to convince the world that the virus didn't even originate in China. In other words, Mr. Jim O'Neill would likely be in Chinese prison if he had made that statement from inside of China. I bet the heavy-handedness wouldn't taste so good if you become one of the victims. Nassim Taleb would have mocked this as the statement of a guy who "has no skin in the game".

[1] https://news.usni.org/2020/01/27/panel-china-now-well-positi...

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/11/thank-god-this-didnt-start-i...

Specifically, responding to the comment about local start ups in India: I agree with these notes,

- A company that wants to cater to Indian public must understand the local system, rules, culture, laws, taboos, and norms.

- Local and domestic entrepreneurs in India have that edge by the virtue of being immersed in the locality.

- Foreign companies will always need to adapt and evolve according to the needs of the Indian public.

This is the best kind of “head start” or “subsidization” one can have in a free and open market. There is nothing wrong with this.

The problem is in preventing international companies from competing in India which, I believe was the case before the 90’s. That was a disastrous foreign policy as the history books tell us.

I was glad that finally someone provided some sort of reference, but the article's title turned out to be "China Now Well Positioned to Bully Neighbors in South China Sea". I don't doubt what you're saying, but it hardly supports the bully accusation. It was an interesting read, I had no idea that the host countries of US bases had to help pay for them.

Speaking of state victims, here's a fun fact - India rounded up all of its ethnic Chinese residents (including Indian citizens) and put them into an internment camp for 5 years with no apology or compensation.


Here is Wikipedia's version of the story:


"On 13 June 2019, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman pronounced the incident and "ordinary maritime accident".[10] The following day, the Chinese Embassy in Manila released a statement via Facebook claiming that a Chinese fishing boat, Yuemaobinyu 42212, "was berthed near Reed Bank when it was suddenly besieged by 7 or 8 Filipino fishing boats". In attempting to evade the Filipino boats, the Chinese vessel's lightning grid cable dragged into the Filipino boat's pilothouse, causing the boat to tilt and founder.[11] This Facebook post however, was later deleted.[12]

China released a revised statement on 18 June 2019, this time omitting the narrative that Yuemaobinyu 42212 had been besieged by 7 or 8 Filipino fishing boats. The statement referred to the incident as an "accidental collision" between fishing boats and offered sympathies to the Filipino fishermen.[13]

In August 2019 Chen Shiqin, the president of the Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association sent a letter to the Philippines apologizing for one of its member's ships sinking F/B Gem-Ver and subsequently abandoning its crew.[14] It was initially reported that the apology was accepted, but this was later refuted by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.[15]"

The initial reaction to the incident certainly looks like bullying. What would you call it?

>>Speaking of state victims, here's a fun fact - India rounded up all of its ethnic Chinese residents (including Indian citizens) and put them into an internment camp for 5 years with no apology or compensation.

There was an actual war going on at that time. There is a perception in India that China backstabbed the Indian prime minister of that day. I am fairly certain not one person in China would agree.

Isn't that exactly what USA did to its Japanese citizens during World War II? Is that supposed to prove anything one way or another? Yes, during war lots of ugly things happen. But that's why nobody likes to go to war, isn't it? The first casualty of war is the truth.

Thanks for providing more references. Maybe I'm dense, but where exactly is the bullying by the Chinese side? It seems to have gone from a claim that 7-8 Filipino fishermen besieged them, to them saying it was an accident and apologizing.

> Isn't that exactly what USA did to its Japanese citizens during World War II

It was, but eventually they got the dignity of an apology and a check to get their lives in the USA back on track.

The war in India also only lasted barely 2 months, to be held for 5 years seems excessive.

> But that's why nobody likes to go to war, isn't it? The first casualty of war is the truth.

Sometimes the loss of truth is placed before the lead up to war. I'm seeing a lost respect for truth (I'm not directing this at you) and I find it very concerning.

- Banning TikTok would move traffic to Instagram, not a “local Indian entrepreneur”

- the Indian startup ecosystem is dependent on external capital, a lot of which comes from China. This protectionist attitude will lead to a overall negative sentiment about investing in Indian tech.

Your first point actually seems pretty unclear for something stated as fact. TikTok and Instagram are both social networks, sure, but they’re quite different

This is a good point, for me the most intriguing aspect of this ban.

Not only is it a good idea from security perspective - as well as privacy as a selling point - by forbidding specific, popular foreign services, it opens up the market for domestic players to grow. This is what China has done, and now India is doing the same to them.

Overall, this seems like a win for the people in India.


India’s GDP is much much smaller than most think: its smaller than California’s GDP. That doesn’t seem so bad since they’re so close to other European countries but remember that India’s population is also considerably larger.

Sorry, mind explaining the connection between India's GDP and the parent comment?

> Where I think a lot of folks are missing the point is that this is also a tremendous boost to local Indian entrepreneurship.

Last I looked, a good portion of the funding for Indian startups is from China.

I don't wanna sound like "that guy" but we have to take a step back and ask ourselves how we got here. The entire software industry has it's roots in espionage and war, even though the past 30 years have seen a massive expansion of consumer technology that, on the surface, completely removes us from that history. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. It's a wonder that we have consumer tech for entertainment and enhancing our lives and that we've built vast markets on it. But, we can't forget the fact that our experience on that end of the technology spectrum doesn't negate where and when we fit into a broader timeline spanning generations. If the doers, the technologists and creators forget this, countries like China are going to run roughshod over the United States, and use what they've learned from and about us against us and against democratic ideals abroad. I've been telling people for the past year or more to stop using TikTok and I get mostly snickers or "that's interesting". American hubris leads us to think we'll always be "on top" and that discoveries like this are fundamentally inconsequential. There's larger plays in flux at the geopolitical scale and it'd be a mistake for Americans to ignore it and pretend it's "no big deal." India has it's own reasons to conduct the ban, right or wrong, but American's should really consider following suit, especially as we head into election season and as social unrest and loose ends continue to shape America's future.

Everyone questioning India, should first Question China ! Why does this country ban these services ? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_websites_blocked_in_ma...

> Everyone questioning India, should first Question China

Or, you could question both. Whataboutism isn't a valid argument, so censorship of the Internet can still be wrong at the same time as China is a malevolent force both on the Internet in general terms and for specific pieces of software or services in more concrete terms.

Well, You have grown comfortable with double standards , somehow equating China with rest of world. Please spend sometime questioning that delusion. China is NO WAY QUALIFIED to question any country ! Western decency has been exploited by China for sometime.. But, For Indian politics it is payback time, killing innocents means crossing a red line...it will trigger response ! btw, US senators did introduce a bill way back in march to ban tiktok https://www.hawley.senate.gov/senators-hawley-scott-introduc...

This news must be seen along with what happened early this year.


A Great Indian Firewall is shaping up. Now that the sentiment is all "anti-China!", people would celebrate instead of protesting the great firewall.

"Masterstroke!"* - Indian public.

*Basically, anything the current leader does, his PR team and his party spokespersons end up terming "unprecedented" / "masterstroke" / "genius move". Everything seems headed towards hardcore Soviet scheme of things.

So if WeChat is basically the only messaging app allowed in China, and WeChat is not allowed to be used in India, is there any widely available platform that Indian citizens can use to chat with Chinese citizens? Making it impossible or at least very difficult to communicate with people in another country seems like it’s only going to make any divide even worse in the long term. Think of the fallout of Facebook filter bubbles but to an extreme, by making it very difficult to even communicate with someone in a different culture with different viewpoints.

> So if WeChat is basically the only messaging app allowed in China

How did you get that impression? There are a ton of chinese messanging apps, e.g., QQ, which is also on the list of banned apps.

Great job refuting your own point. QQ is owned by the same parent company as WeChat (Tencent). Tencent is also implementing the Chinese Social Credit Score system, and so in my humble opinion, is the tech arm of the chinese government.

It really comes down to what "basically the only one" means. But I wouldn't aggree that "google hangouts is basically the only messaging app" would even extend to all the other messaging apps google ever produced. (Please note that this is an example of formulation and what I consider that encompasses, not that hangouts is the only messaging app in any context.)

But besides that: There exist further chinese messengers and non chinese messengers that are not blocked in china.

The rest is, in my opinion, irrelevant to the topic of wechat being the only chinese messaging app.

Have you ever thought that maybe China shouldn't banned all foreign social media and messaging services in the first place? They literally divided the world by putting up a wall between themselves and the rest of the globe, the Great Firewall. Besides, the divide between China and the rest of the world has already happened on the ideological level.

WhatsApp is incredibly popular in India.

And blocked in China.

Recently unblocked.

From the Wiki:

>WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, whose main social media service has been blocked in China since 2009.[208] In September 2017, security researchers reported to The New York Times that the WhatsApp service had been completely blocked in China.[209][210]

>According to Time, Sarsenbek Akaruli, 45, a veterinarian and trader from Ili, Xinjiang, was arrested in Xinjiang on November 2, 2017. As of November 2019, he is still in a detention camp. According to his wife Gulnur Kosdaulet, Akaruli was put in the camp after police found the banned messaging app WhatsApp on his cell phone. Kosdaulet, a citizen of neighboring Kazakhstan, has traveled to Xinjiang on four occasions to search for her husband but could not get help from friends in the Communist Party of China. Kosdaulet said of her friends, "Nobody wanted to risk being recorded on security cameras talking to me in case they ended up in the camps themselves."[211]

Are they still putting people in concentration camps for having an app on their phone?

The language barrier already guarantees that. Only 12.6 percent of Indians speak English and only 6.4 percent of Chinese speak English. The overlap is worse with any other common language.

You can send a text message...

International text messages can cost a fortune to send

Or even receive in some cases. My driver in India was paranoid that I might get his number because I receiving a text could cost more than a days wages.

Email should work. Or XMPP.

Signal works inside China, as long as you installed it outside.

Would iMessage work between India and China?

Facetime works.


Please do some research, Telegram has never worked in China for any extended period of time.

This ban is primarily to satiate anti-China sentiment.

The global economy is too interwined with China. No country can afford to put a blanket ban on things that matter, without a viable plan-B.

Overnight, I agree. But I think the decoupling will happen. The outsourcing to China took about 10 years (mid 90s to mid 2000s). It will likely not take a lot longer to decouple. 10y is very rapid.

We in the U.S. should have partnered more closely with India in the first place. India is democratic and hold values closer to our own. The CCP not so much.

International Partnerships are not based on values or Democracy/*cracy. China moved to market based economy earlier then India and being an autocratic country the move was swift and efficient. US wanted to befriend China against Russia in 70s/80s. India started late and kept struggling internally because of the democratic values.

If values were such important, Saudis wouldn't have been your best buddies.

>[not all] International Partnerships are not based on values or Democracy/*cracy


Think about the "special relationship" among the UK/US that is (definitely was) primarily based on values.

The Saudis are a pragmatic ally, not a values-based one. Both exist.

> Think about the "special relationship" among the UK/US that is (definitely was) primarily based on values.

Which values? Atheism? The welfare state? Well defined social classes? The royal family?


It's always disappointing commenting on HN only to get reddit/twitter "zinger" replies.

You entirely missed my point: I'm not questioning the existence of a "special relationship", I'm asking if it's based on "values". What values does the US share with the UK more than with most other western countries?

I don't think there was really a point to be missed.

If you have a point, go ahead and make it.

Strange, because the question I asked and you didn't answer was pretty clear: "What values does the US share with the UK more than with most other western countries?".

My point (implicit, but obvious) is that "values" is a weasel word used to justify power alliances under the pretension of some shared positive ethical trait.

For the specific case, I feel that the UK and the US have very different values, as it's easy to see comparing the society and recent history of the two countries.

Thanks. I didn't answer because it common for people making a lowest common denominator comment to just pepper you with questions that never land on a final point.

I think your point is interesting. What do you mean by "power alliances" in this context? Do you mean that they're mostly (or entirely) allied for their combined war making power?

For my part, I think the relationship is based on a general understanding that their people are alike in custom, beliefs, traditions, geopolitical place, etc. After all, America is the troubled child of the UK that grew up to dominate the world.

Sorry, I know "power alliances" wasn't too clear, but it was just a way to stress that these are in effect temporary, shifting alliances between powerful organisations (such as nation states are).

> For my part, I think the relationship is based on a general understanding that their people are alike in custom, beliefs, traditions, geopolitical place, etc

Yes, and this is what I was sceptical about. Just to give a few examples, the UK society is extremely secularised, with more than 50% of the population declaring itself non religious; nobody thinks it's a right to carry firearms; police itself is mostly unarmed; politically, there's a strong labour party that is way to the left than the US political mainstream, a welfare state and universal social security and health care. The demographic composition is much more homogeneous than that of the US, with a large indigenous population and relatively recent immigration. There is a lot of value put on tradition, social classes and social order. There is a hereditary aristocracy that holds reserved seats in a branch of the parliament. Etc.

> After all, America is the troubled child of the UK

Yes, and they share a language. But the US is an entirely different place: a whole continent with deserts, mountain ranges, tropical beaches and freezing wilderness. A huge amount of space that for centuries has attracted immigrants from all over Europe and the world; the US culture is a mix of many conflicting cultures released in a colonial setting where conquering and settling was for centuries the way forward.

Imo, the relationship of the US with the UK is mostly sentimental, while that of the UK with the US is one of subalternity.

I completely agree, my understanding of why the US did not is due to India's ties with the Soviet Union and Russia.


Would love to hear more detail from those who know more on the subject.

US wanted proximity to Afghanistan and always warmed up to Pakistan. China knew Pakistan would never compete with them. Sided with Pak to keep India in check. India had no option but to lean on Russia initially.

More democratic than China, yes. A low bar to clear.

While you may disagree with the current elected government in India (I do as well), it is the definition of democracy. Majority of the population did want that government. Also, in India a person managed to lead a protest, form an entire new party and become the chief minister of a state because people were behind him. That is democracy as well. Tell me when has that happened in the states in recent times.

> Also, in India a person managed to lead a protest, form an entire new party and become the chief minister of a state because people were behind him. That is democracy as well. Tell me when has that happened in the states in recent times.

This seems like a really specific request. I'm not sure what aspect you're looking for. But for starters, here's an interesting wikipedia page for governors that went outside the major parties:


Looks like the most common thing in recent times is to just use the label "independent" rather than start a new party.

I think the point that GP made doesn’t have any equivalence in US two party system.

The person in question really did start a new party that was not coupled with any of the existing parties and won the capital state with crushing majority.

That is a sign of a working democracy in my book. I am not sure if US is one of the better version of a well functioning democracy given its two party system. I recall that it was one of the things that the founding fathers were afraid of when they were debating the constitution.

Jesse Ventura wasn't affiliated with either party, along with a lot of people on that list.

The founding fathers were afraid of democracy itself and put in many explicit constraints on it, never mind undesired self-organization like the two parties. So it's easy to find perspectives from which the US isn't the archytype democracy. But what's the point? That it somehow a bit farther down the road to authoritarianism as a result? I'm not sure about that.

They are state governors, but did the state have a majority that wasn't either of the two main parties? That's the point. In India, in this particular instance, majority of the population were sick of the political parties in the country, there were protests and then this person created an entire new party and this party went to get elected in the capital state. I think that's the what democracy should allow you to do.

I'm not sure what you are asking. Governors aren't selected by parliament or something. In every state in the US, Governors are elected by voting in elections, as are senators and representatives at every level. Those independent candidates won a plurality or possibly majority in the state elections. That's how they become governors. If an independent becomes governor, it means a plurality of people voted for them and against the candidates from the major parties.

If you mean the voters joined the new party apart from the election, by registering as a member. Then that happens in some states too. In many states voters don't even register for a party. In many others, the majority or plurality are registered as independent.

Can you just acknowledge the fact that it's hard to have nuanced sides while standing as a candidate in America ? I don't know what you're going on about, even your president with his anti establishment rhetoric needed a nomination from 1 of the parties.

I'm chatting about the history of third-party and independent governors in the USA since someone asked. Then responding to follow-up questions that seemed to not understand the information I provided. As for your question, I'm not interested in getting into partisan or country-bashing nonsense. Not really interested in discussing the presidency either since it's such a toxic topic for the last generation. Try reddit.

If we are on about history of third-party, is there a state that had a majority candidates from the 3rd party? I feel like the entire structure in US setup such that at the end of the day, power belongs to the two main parties and it's impossible to bypass that, even if people might want to. Anyways, my point was when GP said China was a low bar to clear while calling India a democracy, which felt like they didn't consider India to be a true democracy.

Again I must be missing something since I thought the wikipedia page addressed this. Perhaps you looked only at a few people on that list. This party has had a successful candidate in Minnesota:


As for what the two parties, they are pretty entrenched, but not 100 percent given the examples I noted. But also note that both are broad coalitions, not under any small group or individual's control. Rather than having completely separate parties that operate together as a coalition in parliamentary systems. It amounts to basically the same effect. The Democratic party is a coalition of Liberals, progressives, certain immigrant and minority groups, unions, and centrists. The Republicans are a smaller coalition of conservative christians, neocons, moderates. There's some other factions in both. Neocons for example, are essentially a group that switched parties, considered liberals who side with conservatives on foreign policy. In any given election some faction might gain the advantage and win with their nominee. Meanwhile a large chunk of the country identifies as "independent" of these parties. Also note that primaries are essentially democratic too, with the nominee having to win votes to gain the nomination. Not smoke-filled backroom meetings or something. In some states, anyone can vote in a party's primary.

If it was a one-party system, then clearly not democratic, sure. But a two-party system isn't such a clear problem to me. More of a process difference.

There is a whole episode on how different groups are stifled in the 2 party system -


AOC gave a long interview on how Pelosi actively tries to stifle the more left views.

You are portraying it as some happy harmony. It's far from it.

Okay. Poking holes at your argument lead to "try reddit".

Good effort. When it comes to these sort of debates here it's always a blanket "West > East".

The person you are responding to is based in Ontario and is therefore probably Canadian. I'm not informed enough to have an opinion on Canadian politics, but I do know that Canada is has provinces, not states. ;)

I believe the shift to this is already happening.

That's perhaps why China is getting a bit more cocky

More to do with India being on back foot. Lockdown has halted the economy, millions of migrant workers have been displaced and MSMEs are in disarray. India can't afford to have a war at the moment.

I don't think any substantial shift will happen in near future.


I think people abuse the word fascist these days. What makes India fascist? And how does that compare to the economic model of China? Is China fascist?

India is not fascist. The Hindu-nationalism promoted by the BJP and used to degrade and direct violence toward other ethnic groups is a fascist ideology. They never really have tried to pretend otherwise:

> In 2004, when now-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, school textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board portrayed Hitler as a hero, and glorified fascism. The tenth-grade social studies textbook had chapters entitled "Hitler, the Supremo," and "Internal Achievements of Nazism."


China is an authoritarian state Capitalist regime, but not fascist, because of its history and relationship with communist ideologies, and how they still shape their internal politics and ruling structures.

You are blaming India for things against Muslims while selectively ignoring China is imprisoning a couple of millions?


No? I mentioned Muslim concentration camps in China in my first comment. You can be an authoritarian regime that throws people in concentration camps without being fascist, e.g. what the Soviets did with gulags. China’s persecution of Muslims is atrocious.

Totally incorrect.

> India is democratic and hold values closer to our own.

Especially in terms of mixing religion and politics and right-wing based supremacy views.

This aside, the societal dynamics at large are remarkably, surprisingly similar.

Spontaneous protests around Floyd's killing are different from the anti CAA protestors. All the protest leaders (students) are in jail and accused of terrorism. Dissent is suppressed. How can the two societies be similar?

A prominent anti-CAA protestor called for cutting off the secluded eastern part of the country. He is still lauded by the fellow protestors. Petrol bombs were used by protestors. This was no ordinary protest.

Yup. US should have partnered with India as the largest functioning democracy. But that was 50 years back. Last 6 years though, there is a clear challenge to democracy from right wing and fascist groups. Eerily similar to what happened in pre-Nazi Germany. This decade will tell us if democracy will survive.

Uncritical alliance or support will only strengthen the anti-democratic forces. The govt is very interested in stoking anger against an external force (china) to divert serious failures in handling covid crisis. It had adopted the same strategy using pakistan or muslims as the bogey man several times in the recent past.

I agree, however India has a bureaucracy that makes running and starting businesses over there extremely difficult. As well as aggressive tariffs and Byzantine legal processes. China can be a difficult place, but nothing seems to approach India when it comes to paperwork and the dismal speed at which things get done.

Well, except getting your money out of China is also very hard :)

De coupling with Chinese economy is good for India in the long run.

This is the first step.

India should engage more with democracies.

What democracies do you think are capable of meeting India's vast demand for consumer goods? Anything in the developed world is going to be prohibitively expensive. Anything outside is most likely a "democracy" just in name, or already within China's sphere of influence.

The trade alliance with China has been materially good to Indians. We've been able to afford more goods at cheaper rates. While we should try and move things back home, it's not going to happen overnight.

In the meantime, a population that was already struggling with income inequality, wage stagnation, unemployment and even growing poverty will see its material wealth slip further.

You have to start somewhere, this is a starting point.

It's better than just raising the hands and saying that it cannot be done.

If we walk into the past a little in 2000 world is not intertwined with China, and very likely 2040 world is not intertwined with China.

If only people read about PBOC, CNY/CNH and how currency is a political tool within China, you realize they have successfully exploited the "free market" impulse to effectively use state capitalism and dumping to create the world we are in Today.

Just because the supply chains got complex and intertwined with China does not mean it will that way forever -- it is going to be a painful 5 - 10 years, just like the ramp up, the tear down will take time.

And yet, China bans foreign apps.

God forbid other countries give China a taste of their own medicine.

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