The US political landscape is again under a tense atmosphere as people count down the days before a critical change in government. Before that happens, however, the current administration under President Donald Trump seems to be making haste to implement orders and make new rules that have been in the making for months. The latest in that list is an executive order that finally does what Trump has long threatened to do and ban transactions with certain Chinese apps, including those used for money transfers like WeChat Pay.
The Trump administration has been targeting the likes of WeChat Pay as long as it has been hitting hard against TikTok. The arguments are pretty much the same, citing national security and the privacy of American data that may be exposed to the Chinese government through these apps. WeChat Pay and its kind, however, also add another layer of complication in that they also orchestrate the transfer of money between users from the two clashing world superpowers.
Unlike with TikTok, however, the current US government has been less successful in getting bans against WeChat to stick. Courts have blocked those bans twice, citing the importance of the messaging app especially for Chinese American citizens who use it to communicate with their families and friends in China.
Trump’s latest executive order doesn’t single out WeChat Pay, however, but also includes Alipay, Tencent’s QQ messenger, and QQ Wallet. Curiously, it also lumps productivity suite WPS Office and file-sharing app SHAREit in the group.
The US Commerce Department is being given 45 days to implement the order and block new transactions with these apps. That said, the department expressed its intention to expedite the action before January 20 when Trump leaves the White House. That said, the order may again be challenged in courts considering previous unsuccessful attempts by the government.