With less than a day remaining until app stores in the United States remove TikTok and WeChat, China is now considering punishing US tech corporations with sanctions. Apple and Google were the two major tech companies mentioned, but any future sanctions would not be restricted to those two. The Chinese Commerce Ministry also stated today that it is considering adding Apple and Google to its “Unreliable Entities List” which is essentially a corporate blacklist. Companies on the list are restricted from investing in China, or engaging in trade with the Chinese market. Beijing has threatened sanctions and similar actions against US companies in the past, and as Sino-US relations continue to fray, the threatened sanctions grow bolder.
These moves seem to indicate that China is prepared to retaliate and risk an escalation. TikTok and WeChat are two popular Chinese apps. Their use contains grave national security implications for the US as it is believed that user information can be accessed by the Chinese government. The US government, along with many companies that do work with it, has banned its workers from using TikToc and WeChat. The apps parent companies have failed to address the issue to the satisfaction of the White House. WeChat has come under fire by the US government for being a platform for Chinese-language disinformation and can be subject to censorship by the Chinese government.