China Criticizes ‘Bandit’ Mentality of Potential TikTok Ban

( – A bill that was just passed in the U.S. House of Representatives that would potentially lead to the ban of the Chinese-owned app TikTok has led Chinese officials to criticize the U.S. for acting like “bandits.”

The bill, which now faces a difficult vote in the Senate, would give Beijing-based firm ByteDance six months to divest their ownership of the popular video-sharing app, otherwise, the app would be banned in the U.S. In a move that surprised many Americans given how divided and partisan Congress has been in recent years, the House overwhelmingly voted to pass the bill, with 352 representatives voting in support and only 65 representatives voting against the measure.

American lawmakers have shared concerns about the app for years now, citing the fact that putting the data of the millions of Americans who use TikTok could lead to a national security risk. Lawmakers are also concerned about potential foreign influences being put forth by the app, possibly to influence U.S. politics and elections. TikTok and ByteDance have rejected the suggestions that the app could have “malign influences.”

This is not the first time a Chinese-owned app has been required to divest its ownership in order to keep running in the U.S. In 2019, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States told the Chinese owners of Grindr, a dating app for gay men, that they needed to sell or face a ban in the U.S. They ultimately chose to sell.

Ironically, though TikTok is owned by a company based in Beijing, the app itself is unavailable in mainland China. The company does have a version that is available in China, called Douyin.

Officials in Beijing have accused the U.S. of “sabotage” of Chinese-owned businesses. Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, suggested there is no evidence that TikTok could pose a threat to “U.S.’s national security.” However, Rep. Ashley Hinton (R-IA), refuted that, pointing out that TikTok encouraged millions of Americans to call their representatives to protest the potential ban on the app.

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