Chinese State-Owned Outlets Rally To TikTok’s Defense As US Looks To Ban It

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Chinese state-owned media outlets are rallying to TikTok’s defense as legislation to force a sale of the app or face a ban in the United States advances.

The “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” would give Beijing-based ByteDance about five months to sell the app or face a nationwide ban. Both TikTok and the Chinese-owned media outlets contend the bill is a “ban” and cite First Amendment reasons for why it should not become law as well as downplaying national security risks posed by the app. (RELATED: Members Of Congress Propose Banning TikTok Nationwide)

“According to US constitutional law, Congress cannot simply ban TikTok or any social media platform unless it can prove it poses clear and present dangers that can’t be addressed by any other means,” according to China Daily in an opinion piece on Sunday. “But the lawmakers have yet to provide convincing proof for their allegations of TikTok’s digital espionage or manipulation. On the other hand, the proposed law will definitively threaten free speech.” The column also characterized the bill as an “attempt at theft on a grand scale.”

President Joe Biden on Friday said he would sign the bill if it comes to his desk while former President Donald Trump advocated against a TikTok ban on Thursday amid worries it would benefit Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. Trump previously attempted to ban TikTok through executive orders, but federal judges ruled against them.

China Global Television Network (CGTN) also ran an editorial piece Monday and interviewed an “expert” on Sunday advocating against the legislation, with both suggesting it unfairly targets China and is propaganda.

“First, the compulsion to target China has, since Donald Trump scored his historic victory, emerged directly from the need to pursue neoliberal policies,” CGTN’s column states. “They benefit giant U.S. corporations while subjecting the mass of working Americans to low growth, bad employment, stagnant wages, rising inequality and increasing debt. Telling discontented Americans that China is the cause of their woes is the chief way to hide the fact that the pro-corporate neoliberal policies are at fault.”

“Secondly, there are the wishes of the big funders whose money U.S. politicians need if they are to win elections by fooling enough of the people enough of the time with their anti-China rhetoric,” it adds.

The expert, Andy Mok, a senior research fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, described the bill as “American paranoia” and repeatedly called it “troubling,” minimizing the national security risks of TikTok and saying the legislation is political in nature.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously voted in favor of advancing the bill. House Republican leadership is planning to vote on the bill on Wednesday, according to Semafor.

The bill would mitigate the national security threat TikTok poses, such as surveillance, American experts asserted. It also would grant the president authority to compel additional companies to divest from their parent companies if they are based in countries that are foreign adversaries, according to a press release.

“This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States. The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression,” a TikTok spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation after it passed the House committee.

States including Montana, Nevada and New Jersey have banned TikTok from government devices for national security reasons.

China Daily, CGTN, TikTok and ByteDance did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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