China criticises possible US plan to force TikTok sale
BEIJING: China’s government said Thursday (Mar 23) it would oppose possible US plans to force TikTok’s Chinese owner to sell the short-video service as a security risk and warned such a move would hurt investor confidence in the United States.
Governments are worried TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, might give browsing history or other data about users to China’s government or promote propaganda and disinformation.
The Wall Street Journal reported US authorities were considering banning TikTok if ByteDance doesn’t sell the company.
“If the news is true, China will resolutely oppose it,” said a Ministry of Commerce spokeswoman, Shu Jiting. She gave no indication what Beijing might do.
A forced sale “would seriously damage investors from multiple countries including China” and hurt “confidence to invest in the United States”, Shu said.
TikTok is one focus of conflicts between China and other governments over technology and security that are disrupting processor chip, smartphone and other industries.
The CEO of TikTok, Chew Shou Zi, is due to make a high-profile appearance Thursday before a US Congressional committee to make the case for why the hugely popular video-sharing app shouldn’t be banned.
The United States, Britain and New Zealand’s parliament have banned use of TikTok on government-issued phones. India has banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including the WeChat message service, on security and privacy grounds.