‘It’s So Essential’: WeChat Ban Makes U.S.-China Standoff Personal

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Different individuals stated they have been scrambling to search out alternate options to WeChat. Sirui Hua, 29, a resident of Jersey Metropolis, N.J., instructed household and pals in China to join QQ, a messaging app additionally owned by Tencent. He’s additionally planning to make use of Apple’s FaceTime to video chat along with his mother and father in China. However it’s arduous to copy the expertise of WeChat, the place he has greater than 2,000 contacts, he stated.

Each Saturday night, Mr. Hua’s mother and father, who reside in Jiangsu Province close to Shanghai, message him — their solely little one — on WeChat for a one-hour video chat. Recently, they’ve warned him to remain residence and to all the time put on his masks as coronavirus charges improve in the USA. It’s a reversal from early this yr, he stated, when he warned his mother and father to remain residence in China due to hovering an infection charges there.

In the course of the pandemic, WeChat has been a very essential line of connection, he stated. Mr. Hua has his WeChat desktop app open throughout the day, getting messages from dozens of pals in China. His cellphone app is the place he sees the app’s scrolling Moments feed, much like a Fb Timeline, which retains him up to date on how they’re doing.

Different WeChat customers in the USA depend on the service to communicate with prospects or preserve essential cultural traditions.

Hong Allen, 53, works for Usana Well being Sciences, a dietary and dietary complement firm that’s primarily based in Salt Lake Metropolis and has operations in China. Most of her shoppers and prospects are in China, and he or she makes use of WeChat to speak with them. Now, she is afraid she is going to lose all her contacts.

“I really don’t know what to do,” stated Ms. Allen, a resident of Vancouver, Wash. “How do I live?”

Huajin Wang, 43, of Pittsburgh, makes use of WeChat to ship a digital crimson envelope of cash — a Chinese language custom of giving a money present in crimson packets for particular events or holidays — to family and friends. The U.S. restrictions would stop that small however significant gesture, she stated.

“It’s just a small amount, like 50 cents a person, but it is a tradition and sending it make me feel connected to these traditions,” Ms. Wang stated.

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