WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) - Republican senators want to
bar U.S. app stores including Apple and Google from hosting apps
that allow payments to be made with China's digital currency,
amid fears the payment system could allow Beijing to spy on
The bill, unveiled Thursday and first reported by Reuters,
states that companies that own or control app stores "shall not
carry or support any app in app store(s) within the
United States that supports or enables transactions in e-CNY."
It is sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Mike
According to Cotton's office, digital yuan could provide the
Chinese government with "real-time visibility into all
transactions on the network, posing privacy and security
concerns for American persons who join this network."
The Center for a New American Security, a Washington,
D.C.-based think tank, said in a January 2021 report that
China's digital currency and electronic payments system was
"likely to be a boon for CCP surveillance in the economy and for
government interference in the lives of Chinese citizens,"
noting that "transactions will contain precise data about users
and their financial activity."
The move comes after WeChat, a messaging and payment
application owned by China's Tencent with over 1.2 billion
users, announced it would begin supporting the currency earlier
this year. Alipay, the hugely popular payments app owned by Jack
Ma's Ant Group, also accepts the digital currency. Both apps are
available in the Apple and Google App stores.
Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google, Ant
Group and Tencent did not respond to
requests for comment.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington called the legislation
"another example of the United States wantonly bullying foreign
companies by abusing state power on the untenable ground of
While stopping potential national security threats related
to China is a rare point of bipartisan agreement in the deeply
divided U.S. Congress, prospects for the bill's passage ahead of
midterm elections are uncertain.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper
Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)