China condemns US proposal to force sale of TikTok

China on Wednesday condemned efforts by U.S. lawmakers to force the Chinese parent company to Tic Tac to sell the popular short video platform.

In Washington, House lawmakers were expected to vote on a bill later today that would force Chinese internet company ByteDance to cut ties with TikTok or face a nationwide ban. Lawmakers say Beijing could use TikTok to spread messages from the Chinese Communist Party or access sensitive data about U.S. TikTok users.

Beijing dismissed concerns that the app posed a danger to the United States.

“In recent years, even though the United States has never found any evidence that TikTok poses a threat to American national security, it has never stopped going after TikTok,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during a daily press briefing.

China has opposed previous U.S. efforts to force ByteDance to abandon TikTok.

The fervor over the House bill is the latest episode in a a saga lasting several years on the future of the application in the United States.

TikTok, the global version of ByteDance's popular Chinese social media app Douyin, has 170 million users in the United States. The influence of TikTok, particularly among young people, has become essential. President Biden's reelection campaign used it to reach voters.

Mr. Wang accused Washington of “resorting to hegemonic measures when fair competition could not succeed.”

The scrutiny of TikTok has disrupted global trade, sowed investor distrust of the United States and “would ultimately backfire on the United States itself,” he said.

The House bill has bipartisan support, underscoring lawmakers' willingness to be tough on China even as it faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Mr. Biden said Friday he would sign the bill if it passes Congress.

Former President Donald J. Trump spoke out against the bill, despite once issue a decree himself who proposed a forced sale of the application.

Last year, Beijing said it would strongly oppose the forced sale of the platform hours before TikTok's chief executive, Shou Chewing, testified before Congress. China's Commerce Ministry said at the time that the Chinese government would have to approve such a sale.

In 2020, Beijing updated its rules governing exports to include technology similar to the algorithm TikTok uses to recommend videos to its users. Bids from U.S. companies including Microsoft and Oracle to take over TikTok's U.S. operations were ultimately abandoned.

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