Google Removes ‘Remove China App’; The App That Went Viral Due To India-China Tensions

Google has pulled down the ‘Remove China’ app from its play store. The app had gone viral with Indian users in the midst of India-China border clash in Ladakh. The app claimed to identify and remove smartphone services linked to China. 

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According to NAR, the tech giant removed the Remove China’ app over deceptive behaviour policy violation. The ‘Remove China App” claimed to be ‘education’ and was downloaded a million time 10 days.

Google also prohibits apps from encouraging or incentivizing users into removing or disabling third-party apps unless it is part of a verifiable security service. It also bans apps in Google Play Store from making changes to a user’s device settings or features outside of the app without the user’s knowledge and consent.

OneTouch AppLabs, a Jaipur based developer, was behind the creation of the application. The app-enabled users to detect where any apps on their phones were from and delete them if desired. The developer also tweeted after the app was pulled down from the play store but did not cite the reason behind the decision.

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Currently, there is a surge in anti-China feeling all over the world and especially in India. Indian have expressed their displeasure over the handling of coronavirus by Beijing. This has led to the Indian government growing wary of the presence of Chinese companies in the economy. In April, New Delhi moved to tighten rules that allow it to block “opportunistic” investment from its neighbour.

The border conflict in Ladakh has further increased negative feelings towards China. Troops from both countries are currently stationed in Galwan Valley in Aksai Chin as military brass and diplomats try to de-escalate the tensions.

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The hashtag #BoycottChineseProducts is trending on Twitter, with many Indians, including Bollywood celebrities, pledging to stop using Chinese goods. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earlier called for making India ‘self-reliant’ and this message has been positively received by his fellow citizens.

‘Remove China’ is the second Indian application to pulled down by Google this week. Mitron, an app launched to rival Tiktok, the popular Chinese video-sharing platform, was also removed by Google.

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Google claims the app was suspended as it violated spam and minimum functionality developer policies. The app had been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Chinese state-run Global Times news wrote that if New Delhi permits the “irrational anti-China sentiment” to continue, it risks destroying bilateral ties that are “likely to draw tit-for-tat punishment from Beijing.”

The report added that some netizens in China ridiculed Remove China Apps and urged Indians to “throw away” their smartphones, referring to Chinese smartphone makers’ dominance in the Indian market.