BEIJING / WASHINGTON - Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday that China firmly opposed the United States' issuance of executive orders banning US transactions with TikTok and WeChat, saying that the US move is "hegemony on full display".
Wang said China urged the US side to listen to rationals voice at home and also from the international community, correct its mistakes, stop politicizing economic issues and oppressing related companies
Noting recent US actions have drawn a flurry of criticisms and doubts in the US and from the international community, Wang said China urged the US side to listen to rationals voice at home and also from the international community, correct its mistakes, stop politicizing economic issues and oppressing related companies.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an executive order banning any US transactions with Chinese tech firm ByteDance, owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok, starting in 45 days, a controversial move widely criticized by experts.
The app has been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over one billion times globally, according to the executive order, which claims that the app automatically captures "vast swaths of information" from its users, posing risks to US "national security."
A similar executive order has also been issued for WeChat, a messaging and social media app owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.
At a White House briefing earlier this week, Trump told reporters that he is open to a deal in which Microsoft Corp. or another US company buys TikTok, setting Sept 15 as the deadline.
Trump’s order “calls TikTok a national security threat,” said Derek Scissors, an expert on Sino-US economic relations at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. “Either we’ve missed the threat for three years or it just became one and yet we are waiting 45 days.”
The ban on US transactions with Tencent, one of the world’s biggest internet companies, portends further fracturing of the global internet and severing of long-standing ties between the tech industries in the United States and China.
WeChat has been downloaded a relatively small 19 million times in the United States, showed data from Sensor Tower. In China, however, the app is ubiquitous as a medium for services as varied as games and payment. It is also a common platform to communicate with individuals and businesses outside of China.
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The WeChat order would effectively ban the app in the United States by barring “to the extent permitted under applicable law, any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd”
Trump’s order sent Asian stock markets lower on Friday, with Tencent shares falling as far as 10.1 percent before recouping some of its losses in afternoon trade and closing down 5 percent at HK$527.50.
It was not clear whether the sanction would effect Tencent’s other holdings in the country.
Meanwhile, WeChat users in the United States were quickly evaluating alternatives.
“Banning WeChat is against America’s liberal principles,” Jeason Ma, a 33-year-old in Los Angeles who obtained US citizenship in November, told Reuters. “Most of our family and friends are in China. This will cause significant inconvenience to our lives.”
Ma has been sharing his account information for WhatsApp and messaging rival Line Corp with friends and family, fearing he could lose access to WeChat.
Mo Jingxi contributed to this article
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