Beijing is stepping up to the plate in the face of the “unjustified attacks” of the United States against TikTok. Washington is indeed asking the parent company of the application to part with it and is brandishing the threat of a ban on the social network throughout their territory. Following in the footsteps of several Western powers – the United States, Canada and the European Union – the United Kingdom has in turn banned the application on government devices.
In this battle where Washington invokes national security reasons to attack the short video platform, very popular with young people, Beijing has challenged the world’s leading power to “provide proof” of its allegations. According to the Wall Street Journal and other American dailies, the White House has issued an ultimatum: if TikTok remains in the fold of ByteDance, its parent company based in China, it will be banned in the United States.
Intense Beijing-Washington rivalry over new technologies
TikTok confirmed to AFP that the US government had indeed recommended the transfer of the application by its owner. Amid the intense Beijing-Washington rivalry over trade and new technology, many U.S. lawmakers and leaders say the app poses a national security threat.
TikTok is accused by its critics of giving Chinese authorities access to user data around the world, which the application strongly denies. “The United States should stop spreading false information on data security issues, stop unwarranted attacks [contre TikTok] and providing an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment” for foreign companies, Wang Wenbin, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said Thursday.
Washington “has so far not provided evidence that TikTok threatens the national security of the United States”, he stressed in Beijing, during a regular press conference.