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Beijing slams proposed US TikTok ban as ‘bandit logic’

Washington is moving closer to adopting a law that could remove the Chinese-owned social media platform from US app stores

China has lashed out at an ongoing effort to ban the popular TikTok social media platform in the US. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, such a step would violate international trade rules.

His comments came after the US House of Representatives passed a bill that describes TikTok as a “national security threat” and would force the platform’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell it within six months or face a nationwide ban.

“[The bill] runs contrary to the principles of fair competition and international economic and trade rules,” Wang said at a news briefing in Beijing. He added that “if so-called reasons of national security can be used to arbitrarily suppress excellent companies from other countries, then there is no fairness and justice at all.”

“When someone sees a good thing another person has and tries to take it for themselves, this is entirely the logic of a bandit.”

He accused Washington of “bullying behavior” and “leveraging state power” against ByteDance. Prior to the vote on Wednesday, Wang had also warned that the proposed ban would “inevitably come back to bite the US” as it would damage investor confidence in America.

The House passed the legislation by a vote of 352-65 on Wednesday. The bill now goes to the Senate. US President Joe Biden previously said he would sign the bill into law if it passes both houses of Congress.

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TikTok CEO calls on users to fight US ban

TikTok CEO Shou Chew said on Tuesday that banning TikTok in the US would endanger the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans, claiming that more than seven million small businesses in the US depend on the platform. Chew also pledged that TikTok would exercise its “legal rights” to prevent the ban, and asked its 170 million US users to support its efforts.

In his testimony to Congress last year, Chew insisted that ByteDance was “not an agent of China” and that TikTok “has never shared, or received a request to share, US user data with the Chinese government,” nor would it honor such a request if one were ever made.

 

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