American WeChat users are suing Donald Trump

At the beginning of August, Donald Trump issued a ban on the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, which should take effect in relation to WeChat in mid-September. WeChat has over a billion users worldwide, about 19 million of them in the USA. Some do not want to accept the ban and have the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance (USWUA) launched. This organization expressly serves the purpose of bringing legal action against the President’s order. The first lawsuit has been pending since Friday.

The lawsuit demands that the President’s injunction be declared illegal and ineffective. With the ban, the president exceeded his powers, since the relevant laws expressly prohibit a general ban on communication services. In addition, the decision is too daring.

In addition, the President had not complied with the necessary procedural steps. The same applies to an earlier decree with which the President declared a TKK state of emergency. The state of emergency declared at the time is expressly the basis of the current decree. Even if the earlier decree should be in effect, that doesn’t help because it doesn’t even mention WeChat. Trump should have declared another state of emergency.

Above all, however, the decree is unconstitutional on several occasions: It violates the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of religion, the right to comply with the rule of law and the right to equal treatment. For the latter, the lawsuit can point to a long series of racist anti-Chinese statements by the president.

In addition to the president, his economics minister Wilbur Ross is complained. Other people appear as plaintiffs in addition to the USWUA: A US American who heads an organization that offers psychological services via WeChat specifically for Chinese-speaking Americans; a US lawyer who has business dealings with China through WeChat; a Chinese woman living in the US who organizes support for poor school children in China through WeChat; a US company that organizes online advertising for Chinese-speaking audiences and the company’s founder; and finally a US resident whose Bible study is on WeChat in Corona times.

The procedure is called U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, Chihuo Inc., Brent Coulter, Fangyi Duan, Jinneng Bao, Elaine Peng, and Xiao Zhang v. Donald J. Trump and Wilbur Ross and is pending in the US Federal District Court for Northern California under file number 3: 20-cv-05910. The plaintiffs stress that they are not affiliated with the WeChat operator Tencent. The lawsuit will be financed from donations from individual users. For this, the USWUA has applied for recognition as a non-profit organization.


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