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U.S. Government Files Appeal on WeChat Preliminary Injunction

The U.S. government filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court on Friday, in an attempt to reverse a Sept. 19 preliminary injunction on a ban of Tencent’s WeChat App. The injunction won on behalf of the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance was granted based on concerns that a ban in the U.S. would limit users’ First Amendment rights.  On Sept. 19, Judge Laurel Beeler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted the preliminary injunction to Tencent’s popular Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app. 

The U.S. government filed a motion with the court on Sept. 23 to stay the preliminary junction during its appeal, which it finally filed to the Ninth Circuit Court on Friday.

In its filing to fight the motion to stay, the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance said that if the government’s motion is granted, it “would allow the ban on WeChat to go into effect immediately.”

“Plaintiffs – and all WeChat users in the United States – would suffer irreparable harm if the WeChat Ban is allowed to go into effect,” said Michael Bien, counsel for USWUA. “Judge Beeler’s Preliminary Injunction found substantial Constitutional issues and irreparable harm to WeChat users in the United States if the Ban was allowed to be implemented while the important First Amendment rights implicated by the Ban are fully litigated in her Court.  The Preliminary Injunction must stay in place to preserve the rights of WeChat users, especially the millions who depend on it for communications in Chinese.” 

The ongoing legal fight between the U.S. government and WeChat is part of a larger government effort targeting companies with deep financial ties to Chinese companies that includes TikTok and various Tencent-connected companies including Riot Games and Epic Games, among others. 

Tencent has not yet engaged the government on its efforts against WeChat and other companies it has ties to in the U.S.

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