Wednesday, February 21, 2024

China says it would ‘resolutely oppose’ possible plans to force TikTok sale

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Chinese officials said they will “resolutely oppose” the forced sale social media platform TikTok by its Chinese parent company ByteDance, after the Biden administration and lawmakers ramp up pressure on the company.

The Biden administration recently demanded ByteDance either sell their stakes in TikTok, or risk having the social media platform banned in the United States.

“If the news is true, China will resolutely oppose it,” China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Shu Jueting said in a statement on Thursday, per the Associated Press.

Shu also said that a potential forced sale of TikTok “would seriously damage investors from multiple countries including China” and hurt the country’s “confidence to invest in the United States.” 

Shu’s remarks came ahead of Tik Tok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday. 

Chew, who formerly served as ByteDance’s chief financial officer (CFO), is expected to discuss his company’s “consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party,” per the committee.

Multiple state governments and Congress in recent months have banned TikTok on government devices, citing national security concerns due to its ties to China, and potential for Beijing to access data from U.S. users.

U.S. officials have had an increasingly contentious relationship with TikTok in recent years. The Trump administration made a failed attempt to implement a ban on the social media platform in 2020.

In a interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chew said that an eventual sale of the company won’t resolve perceived security risks that the company has, adding that Bytedance, which owns 20 percent of TikTok, has been thinking about the possibility of selling its stake but doesn’t think its the right time.

“There’s no concrete plan right now,” Chew told the Journal. 

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