China blasts US ‘unreasonable’ crackdown after TikTok ban



Image: Reuters

A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the US government’s recent ban on a Chinese company’s TikTok on Tuesday. She said that the restriction is an abuse of state authority.

The White House on Monday reportedly asked US government agencies to remove the app from official devices within 30 days.

Earlier, in December 2022, due to “national security” concerns, the US Congress had enacted a ban that this legislation followed. US senators will vote this week on a resolution that would give US President the right to prohibit the app.

The spokesperson, Mao Ning, addressed the US ban on TikTok during a news conference in Beijing. She said the US is truly too insecure.

“We vehemently oppose the United States’ wrong practice of generalizing the concept of national security and abusing state power to unreasonably suppress companies from other countries,” Mao said, calling on the United States to respect the principles of fair competition and end its crackdowns on relevant companies.

ByteDance has not responded to the ban. A subsidiary however said that the purported national security concerns stated by the United States were motivated by false information. When asked about its commitment to user privacy, TikTok stressed the measures it takes to protect it.

Similar actions were taken by Canada and the European Union before Monday’s U.S. decision. On Monday, Canada banned the app TikTop from all government-issued phones. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hinted that more action may be necessary. The week before, the app was also blocked on the phones of employees at the two major EU regulating bodies.

“Security concerns” reason for the bans

Western officials have claimed several times that security concerns are the reason for the bans. They have not shown any actual examples of security being compromised because of TikTok. The company, which has been lobbying U.S. and European officials to allay security concerns, called such bans “misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions.”

Westerners were appalled and condemned the bans. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a plan to ban TikTok on all US devices on Tuesday, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one of the largest public-interest law firms in the country, has spoken out strongly against the proposal.

“The government should not silence whole platforms in violation of the First Amendment rights of its citizens. Whether we’re discussing the day’s news, live streaming demonstrations, or just watching cat videos. We have the ability to use TikTok and other platforms to express our thoughts, ideas, and opinions.”

American law was used by the ACLU to support the claim that the US government “cannot restrict a social media platform purely on the premise that the app was produced by a Chinese firm.”

Fear growing among businesses

Fears are growing among businesses in the United States, especially small businesses, that rely on TikTok to advertise their products. Experts have stressed that it may be hard to entirely ban the app despite the politically motivated moves. Several experts believe that the United States’ reckless antipathy toward China will only make matters worse.

According to Statista, TikTok had 99 million downloads in the United States in 2022, making it the most popular mobile app of that year. Despite US efforts to prohibit TikTok and force its sale to a US firm, the app continued to grow in popularity. The company claims that each month 125 million people in the EU use TikTok.

According to analysts, as part of a politically motivated containment campaign towards China, the United States and some of its allies are ramping up their attacks on Chinese enterprises.

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