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US appeals court rejects govt motion to stay preliminary injunction on WeChat ban

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-10-27 14:07

 The app WeChat is seen among US flags in this illustration picture taken Aug 7, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

SAN FRANCISCO - A US appeals court on Monday rejected a Justice Department's appeal to immediately ban WeChat, a messaging, social media and mobile payment app owned by Chinese company Tencent, in the country.

According to judges for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the government had not demonstrated that it would "suffer an imminent, irreparable injury during the pendency of this appeal, which is being expedited".

On Friday, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler from the District Court for the Northern District of California also denied the government's motion to stay the preliminary injunction on banning WeChat.

She ruled that the government's additional evidence did not alter the court's previous holding that US-based users of WeChat are entitled to a preliminary injunction.

On Sept 20, she temporarily halted US President Donald Trump's executive order to ban WeChat by issuing an order to grant the motion for a preliminary injunction, which determined the restrictions placed on WeChat could violate the Constitutional Amendment rights of its users in the United States.

The US Commerce Department issued the Identification of Prohibited Transactions on Sept 18.

"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," Beeler wrote in her order.

The government then turned to the appeals court early this month, appealing to alter Beeler's ruling.

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, the US WeChat Users Alliance (USWUA) sued the Trump administration for the ban. The lawsuit opened in court on Sept 17.

The plaintiffs, including USWUA and other app users, argued that WeChat is irreplaceable for its users in the United States.

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