Press release from U.S. WeChat Users Alliance

June 9, 2021

WeChat Users Alliance Welcomes U.S. Government’s Decision to Stop Legal Efforts to Ban the App

San Francisco, California –– Today, the Biden Administration cancelled President Trump’s 2020 executive orders that would have banned WeChat and TikTok in the United States.

“The U.S. Government has revoked the wrong-headed ban on WeChat that was initiated by President Trump in 2020 that would have led to the unprecedented shutdown of a major platform for communications relied on by millions of people in the United States,” said Michael Bien, lead counsel for USWUA and other plaintiffs.  “The courts did the right thing by preventing the ban from going into effect, but the whole episode creating enormous disruption and uncertainty never should have happened in the first place.”

In October 2020 the U.S. Court of Appeals for The Ninth Circuit issued an order denying the U.S government’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction that has suspended the implementation of the WeChat ban. Judge Fletcher, Judge Berzon and Judge Bybee unanimously decided that the government has “not demonstrated that they will suffer an imminent, irreparable injury during the pendency of this appeal” and the preliminary injunction issued by Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of the U.S. District Court of Norther California should remain in place, pending the outcome of the appeal in the Ninth Circuit, which was put on hold by the incoming Biden administration in January 2021.

“Each of the four federal judges that considered the government’s attempts to ban WeChat appropriately balanced the overwhelming evidence of immediate and irreparable injury to our clients’ First Amendment protected interests if the WeChat ban had gone into effect with the government’s speculative claims of injury caused by the continued operation of WeChat in the United States,” explained Keliang (Clay) Zhu of the DeHeng Law Offices, who assembled the legal team on behalf of USWUA.

David Gossett of Davis Wright Tremaine, who argued the case in the Ninth Circuit added:  “The government’s conduct here put our fundamental First Amendment freedoms at risk—this case never should have been necessary.  It happened because the government took unreasonable positions and lost sight of the basic ground rules of a free society.” 

The U.S. WeChat Users Association was represented by a team of attorneys in the trial court and in the Ninth Circuit, including attorneys from Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP in San Francisco, Keliang (Clay) Zhu of the DeHeng Law Offices PC in Pleasanton, California, Angus Ni of AFN Law PLLC in Seattle, David Gossett and Courtney DeThomas of Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington D.C., Thomas Burke of Davis Wright Tremaine in San Francisco, and John Browning of Davis Wright Tremaine in New York.