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US judge temporarily blocks Trump's order on WeChat ban

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-09-21 11:15
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The sign of the WeChat app is seen reflected on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken September 19, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

SAN FRANCISCO - A US judge on Sunday temporarily halted President Donald Trump's executive order to ban WeChat, a Chinese messaging, social-media and mobile-payment app, slated to go into effect Sunday night.

Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco issued the order granting motion for preliminary injunction, which determined the restrictions placed on WeChat could violate the Constitutional Amendment rights of its users in the United States.

The plaintiffs, including the US WeChat Users Alliance (USWUA) and other app users argued that WeChat is irreplaceable for its users in the United States, particularly in the Chinese-speaking and Chinese-American community.

On Aug 6, Trump issued an executive order banning US transactions via WeChat, which would take effect on the late night of Sept 20.

To fight for the legal rights of all WeChat users in the country, USWUA, an NGO, sued the Trump administration for the ban. The lawsuit opened in court on Sept 17.

On Friday, the US Commerce Department issued the Identification of Prohibited Transactions. "The result is that consumers in the US cannot download or update the WeChat app, use it to send or receive money, and -- because US support for the app by data hosting and content caching will be eliminated -- the app, while perhaps technically available to existing US users, likely will be useless to them," Judge Beeler wrote in her order.

After three hearings held in three consecutive days, Judge Beeler finally hit pause on the Trump administration's WeChat ban. 

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