A mobile application, which allows wealthy older people to connect with young lovers, is facing restrictions in China after a surge in popularity in the country, state media reported on Friday.
SeekingArrangement, which was the most downloaded app on Apple Store China this week and also registered high numbers on Android, has been banned from WeChat — a popular Chinese messaging service similar to WhatsApp — Efe news reported citing the official newspaper China Daily.
The move came after the state-run Global Times — linked to the Communist Party of China — urged the government to shut down the app’s operations in the country for promoting “sugar dating”, a practice in which wealthy older suitors are matched with younger people in exchange for economic benefits or gifts.
Lawyers cited by official media warned that the services offered by such websites could be classified as prostitution, which is illegal in China.
The app was founded in 2006 by entrepreneur Brandon Wade, who has defended it by saying “love is a concept invented by poor people”, and has its Chinese headquarters in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which has fewer legal restrictions than the rest of the country.
Male members pay a monthly fee of $60, while females use the app for free or pay $15 to access more functions and are required to list their annual income, which should be higher than $47,000 to use the services. (IANS)
China warned Canada on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s chief financial officer, calling the case “extremely nasty.”
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions. The executive is the daughter of the founder of Huawei.
If extradited to the United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.
No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counterarguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday.
In a short statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had issued the warning to release Meng to Canada’s ambassador in Beijing, summoning him to lodge a “strong protest.”
Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Saturday that there was “nothing to add beyond what the minister said yesterday.”
Freeland told reporters on Friday that relationship with China was important and valued, and Canada’s ambassador in Beijing has assured the Chinese that consular access will be provided to Meng.
When asked about the possible Chinese backlash after the arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canada had a very good relationship with Beijing.
Canada’s arrest of Meng at the request of the United States while she was changing planes in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said.
The move “ignored the law, was unreasonable” and was in its very nature “extremely nasty,” he added.
“China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused.”
The statement did not elaborate.
“There will probably be a deep freeze with the Chinese in high-level visits and exchanges,” David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China, said on Friday. “The ability to talk about free trade will be put in the icebox for a while. But we’re going to have to live with that. That’s the price of dealing with a country like China.”
Meng’s arrest came on the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump met in Argentina with China’s Xi Jinping to look for ways to resolve an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
“We are tracking the developments of this case and refer you to the filings in the Supreme Court of British Columbia,” said a U.S. State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The news of Meng’s arrest has roiled stock markets and drawn condemnation from Chinese authorities, although Trump and his top economic advisers have played down its importance to trade talks after the two leaders agreed to a truce.
A Huawei spokesman said on Friday that the company had “every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion.” The company has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations. (VOA)