China responds to US House vote on TikTok ban: ‘Resorting to hegemonic moves when one cannot succeed’

Image Source : AP Chinese President Xi Jinping with his US counterpart Joe Biden.

BEIJING: China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday slammed the US for taking “hegemonic moves” against TikTok as American lawmakers warned to ban the popular video app. The lawmakers act on concerns that the company’s ownership structure is a threat to national security.

The bill would require the Chinese firm ByteDance to divest TikTok and other applications it owns within six months of the bill’s enactment or those apps would be prohibited. At a daily news briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin condemned the move. US President Joe Biden has said if Congress passes the measure, he will sign it.

“In recent years, although the US has not found any evidence of TikTok threatening national security, it has never stopped going after TikTok. This practice of resorting to hegemonic moves when one cannot succeed in fair competition disrupts normal operations of businesses, undermines international investors’ confidence in the investment environment, sabotages the normal international economic and trade order, and will eventually backfire on the US itself,” said the spokesperson.

TikTok fear in US 


TikTok’s fate has become a major issue in Washington. Democratic and Republican lawmakers said their offices had received large volumes of calls from teenage TikTok users who oppose the legislation, with the volume of complaints at times exceeding the number of calls seeking a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The measure is also the latest in a series of moves in Washington to respond to US national security concerns about China, from connected vehicles to advanced artificial intelligence chips to cranes at US ports.

The vote comes just over a week since the bill was proposed following one public hearing with little debate, and after action in Congress had stalled for more than a year. Last month, President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign joined TikTok, raising hopes among TikTok officials that legislation was unlikely this year. The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week voted 50-0 in favour of the bill, setting it up for a vote before the full House.

TikTok CEO responds to ban

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will visit Capitol Hill on Wednesday on a previously scheduled trip to talk to senators, a source briefed on the matter said. “This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States,” the company said before the vote. “The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression,” it added. 

(With inputs from agencies)

Also Read: US House passes bill to force ByteDance to divest TikTok or face ban in a big blow to Chinese firm