President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting American citizens from carrying out transactions with eight major Chinese tech companies Tuesday night.
Trump’s order is only the most recent in a string of national security orders aimed at limiting Americans’ exposure to Chinese-owned companies like WeChat and TikTok. The order prohibits Americans from carrying out transactions with individuals associated with the following companies: Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay and WPS Office.
“The continuing activity of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to steal or otherwise obtain United States persons’ data makes clear that there is an intent to use bulk data collection to advance China’s economic and national security agenda,” the order states. (RELATED:Chinese Embassy Makes Its Pitch To Biden)
Senior administration officials said that while the apps may not necessarily hack Americans’ data, the companies in control of the apps are beholden to the CCP and can be compelled to share it. The officials said China is a “technology-enabled fascist dictatorship” that uses collected data as a “mass tool of global oppression,” specifically citing the CCP’s persecution of Uighur Muslims and the end of democracy in Hong Kong.
Unlike Trump’s previous orders, Tuesday’s move directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to continue investigating Chinese companies similar to the eight already listed and add any that pose a threat. The order also instructs Ross to further define which transactions related to the companies are to be prohibited.
The order won’t go into effect for another 45 days, however, raising the question of whether President-Elect Joe Biden intends to follow through on the move.