China's Commerce Ministry declared that they would “oppose” the Biden administration’s call for Beijing-based ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok or face a nationwide ban in the US.
Shou Zi Chew, TikTok's CEO, is facing Capitol Hill question by US lawmakers seeking answers on the app’s potential risks to national security. He will testify before Congress for the first time in a hearing that could have major implications for TikTok’s future operations.The hearing will focus on how TikTok protects children from "online harms" and trace its connection to the Chinese Communist Party, according to a release.
Sen. Mark Warner D-Va., a lead sponsor of legislation that could be used to ban TikTok in the U.S., questioned the company's credibility ahead of today's hearing.
“While I appreciate Mr. Chew’s willingness to answer questions before Congress, TikTok’s lack of transparency, repeated obfuscations, and misstatements of fact have severely undermined the credibility of any statements by TikTok employees, including Mr. Chew," Warner said in a statement yesterday afternoon to NBC news.
Any divestiture of ByteDance’s controlling stake in TikTok would require approval by the Chinese government, ministry spokeswoman Shu Jueting said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“If the news is true, China will firmly oppose it,” the spokeswoman said. She also added that the Biden administration's banning of TikTok would hurt the US as an international investors market.
In the United States alone, the video-sharing app has more than 100 million users.
“We do not believe that a ban that hurts American small businesses, damages the country’s economy, silences the voices of over 150 million Americans, and reduces competition in an increasingly concentrated market is the solution to a solvable problem." ~ Shou Zi Chew
Critics from both parties have called for a TikTok ban due to fears that China is using the app to gather information on Americans.
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, recently likened TikTok to a “spy balloon into your phone.”
A new Washington Post poll finds forty-one percent of Americans support the federal government ban of TikTok; twenty-five percent oppose the ban; thirty-four percent are unsure.
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