Beijing Calls U.S. the 'Real Eavesdropping Empire' After It Bans China Companies That Threaten National Security

China is calling on the United States to end its discriminatory policies against the use of Chinese companies.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told People's Daily Online that the United States continues to ban and slander Chinese telecommunication companies, but provides no evidence that they are a threat to national security.

In January, then-President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software apps that he said use "bulk data collection" to advance Chinese economic and national security agenda and put Americans who use those apps at risk.

"The United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swaths of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information," the order said. "At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by these Chinese connected software applications."

The order barred any transactions with "persons that develop or control" the apps of Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, WPS Office and their subsidiaries after a period of 45 days.

Trump also sought to ban TikTok and WeChat over similar national security concerns, but those bans were blocked by federal courts.

At the time, Hua called the order "another example of American bullying and hegemonic behavior, which has overextended the concept of national security, abused national power, and unreasonably suppressed foreign companies."

Now, Hua claims the United States is involved in its own eavesdropping scandals.

She pointed to the "Irritant Horn" Project, an alleged project that National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden said in 2015 was a plan between the U.S. and its Five Eyes allies to hijack Google and Samsung app stores to distribute surveillance malware on phones.

"The United States doesn't even spare its allies, an act that demonstrates that the United States is the real hacker and eavesdropping empire," Hua said. She called these policies and attitudes "shameful and dirty."

Hua added that the "U.S. suppression of Chinese enterprises denies the market economy principles and free trade rules that the United States has always advertised" and urged the United States to end what it calls its slander of China.

"The Chinese government will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard Chinese companies' legitimate rights and interests," Hua said.

Newsweek reached out the White House for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

China Apps
In this photo illustration, a mobile phone displays the logos for Chinese apps WeChat and TikTok in front of a monitor showing the flags of the U.S. and China on an internet page, on September 22, 2020 in Beijing. Both popular Chinese-owned apps are facing bans under an executive order signed by then-President Donald Trump. A Chinese official called out the U.S for its discriminatory policies against Chinese companies. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images