July 18, 2024

China issues warning over proposed TikTok ban in US

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Beijing issued a stern warning on Wednesday, cautioning that a proposed ban on the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok would have repercussions for the United States. The US House of Representatives is slated to vote later in the day on legislation that would compel the app to sever ties with its Chinese parent company or face prohibition in the country.

The impending legislation poses the most significant threat yet to TikTok, a platform that has garnered immense popularity worldwide while sparking concerns among governments and security authorities regarding its Chinese ownership and potential allegiance to the Communist Party of China.

Prior to the scheduled vote, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, condemned the proposed ban, asserting that despite the absence of evidence linking TikTok to threats against US national security, the US continues to suppress the app. Wang characterized such actions as bullying, disrupting normal business operations, undermining international investor confidence, and disrupting the established international economic and trade order.

Wang cautioned that the repercussions of these actions would inevitably return to haunt the United States. The vote is anticipated to take place at 10:00 am (1400 GMT) and is expected to pass with significant support, representing a rare moment of bipartisan agreement in the politically polarized landscape of Washington.

While the fate of the bill remains uncertain in the Senate, where prominent figures oppose such a drastic measure against a vastly popular app boasting 170 million US users, the White House has indicated President Joe Biden’s intention to sign the bill into law should it reach his desk.

TikTok has vehemently denied any association with the Chinese government and has restructured its operations to ensure that the data of US users remains within the country. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is currently in Washington, endeavoring to rally support to thwart the bill’s progression.

In a letter addressed to the bill’s co-sponsors, Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s vice president for public policy, raised concerns about the rapid advancement of the legislation without the benefit of a public hearing, citing significant constitutional implications.

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