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WeChat users in the US sued Mr. Trump for banning the Chinese messaging app

 

The plaintiff argued that the ban violates their freedom of expression, freedom of religion and other constitutional rights.

Several WeChat users in the United States are suing US President Donald Trump in an attempt to block an order they say would block US access to China's hugely popular messaging app.

The complaint filed on Friday, August 21 in San Francisco, is being filed by the US WeChat Users Alliance and others, saying they rely on the app to work, worship, and keep contact with relatives in China. The plaintiffs say they are not affiliated with WeChat or its parent company, Tencent Holdings.

In the lawsuit, they asked a federal court judge to stop the execution of President Trump's decree, claiming that the order would violate freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other constitutional rights of US users.

On Saturday, August 22, Michael Bien, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, said:

“We think it is the benefit of the First Amendment to provide continuous access to that app and the features of that application for the Chinese-American community.”

President Trump on Aug. 6 issued a complete but vague ban on transactions with the Chinese owner of WeChat and another popular app, TikTok, said they pose a threat to national security, foreign policy and the economy of the United States.

Dual ordinances one per application are slated to go into effect September 20, 45 days after they are issued. The orders required US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who was also named the defendant in the US WeChat User Union lawsuit, to identify the transactions that were prohibited at the time.

It is not yet clear what the decrees will mean for millions of US app users, but experts say they intend to ban WeChat and TikTok from app stores run by Apple and Google operating. That would make them harder to use in the US.

"The first thing we will be looking for is to postpone the implementation of penalties and sanctions - a reasonable amount of time between explaining what the rules are and punishing those who do not follow them."

Bien said.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said on Saturday that it plans to challenge the law against Trump's executive order.

WeChat, which has over 1 billion users, is less famous than TikTok among Americans without a connection to China.

Mobile research firm Sensor Tower estimates the app has been downloaded about 19 million times in the US. It is the vital infrastructure for Chinese students and residents in the US to connect with friends and family in China as well as for anyone doing business with China.

In China, WeChat is censored and is expected to comply with content restrictions set by the authorities. Internet monitoring group Citizen Lab in Toronto said WeChat has tracked files and images shared abroad to aid their censorship in China.

Even so, the US WeChat User Union complaint claims that losing access to the app would harm millions in the US who already use it, saying it was the only app. has an interface designed for Chinese speakers.

“Since the executive order, many users, including plaintiffs, have scrambled to find alternatives that fail. Now they fear that just by communicating with their families, they might be breaking the law and facing sanctions.”

According to the complaint.

 

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