China: U.S. TikTok Ban Is ‘Robbery,’ a ‘Flagrant Heist’

TikTok video app
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Chinese state media continued its frenzied response to the prospective U.S. ban on  TikTok with editorials slamming the Trump administration for “robbery” and a “flagrant heist” because the app can only survive in the U.S. if Microsoft agrees to purchase it.

China’s state-run Global Times was infuriated by President Donald Trump’s remark that if Microsoft buys TikTok, it should remit a “substantial portion” of the proceeds to the U.S. Treasury Department because U.S. government action made the sale possible. 

The Chinese newspaper felt this validated its criticisms of the TikTok ban:

The Trump administration said it would shut down TikTok or let a US company purchase it. Now, it’s demanding that the Treasury cut the deal. These constitute a clear robbery of TikTok. The U.S. has been claiming to build an Indo-Pacific order based on rules. 

However, just look at what Washington has done with TikTok. Where are the rules?  Washington’s rules are “might is everything.” The U.S., as a strong power, not only is the rule-maker, but also willfully takes its wanton actions to break the rules as part of the rules. Other countries can only keep the rules in mind and accept U.S.’ violations of the rules.

American businessmen forced to give up their intellectual property as the cost of doing business in China should find some amusement in the Global Times’ rant, especially those who handed over trade secrets to Chinese “partners” and then found themselves driven out of business by Chinese “competitors” selling cut-rate versions of their products.

The Global Times maintained China’s pretense that the ban on TikTok is entirely “arbitrary,” rather than a well-founded response to documented security flaws and censorship issues with the platform, and even lectured the U.S. for supposedly distorting the rules of free trade “at a time when people are experiencing an unprecedented pandemic.”

Another Global Times editorial on Tuesday claimed other companies are running scared after America’s “flagrant heist of TikTok.”

The Chinese Communist editorialists chose Zoom as their sole example of an unreasonably terrorized company. Zoom is a videoconferencing platform that is also a well-known “security nightmare,” according to Forbes.

“Although Zoom, based in Silicon Valley, is an American company and its founder and CEO Eric Yuan is a US citizen, the company reportedly has a big development team in China, which has long contributed to its relatively low research and development costs over the years,” the Global Times wrote, without mentioning the reasons Chinese involvement has given Zoom a bad reputation among cyber-security analysts.

Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin on Wednesday advised Chinese software company ByteDance, the creators of TikTok, to stop “showing weakness” and stand up to Donald Trump’s bullying. 

“The more the American community expects Microsoft to succeed with the acquisition, and the more Trump boasts, the more capital ByteDance has to cling to its own interests. ByteDance might take this strategy: Act soft on the outside but be hard on the inside, while striving to maximize benefits during the process of addressing this crisis — even against the backdrop of a very unfavorable environment for the company,” Hu recommended.

Hu claimed there is “growing negative public opinion against the Trump administration” over TikTok — a cherished talking point for both Chinese state media and left-leaning American media outlets is that a vast army of young Americans is livid with Trump for jeopardizing their beloved video microblogging platform — and since “Trump’s election campaign is already in bad shape,” the American president will probably cave to TikTok and its fans.

“Over time, the U.S. side’s desire for a successful purchase and fear of shutdown of TikTok will grow stronger. All these will become weapons in the hands of ByteDance,” Hu predicted.

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