BEIJING - China on Monday slammed a recent US executive order requiring ByteDance to divest its interest in TikTok's operations in the United States within 90 days, saying that the so-called "freedom" and "security" are merely excuses for the "digital gunboat policy" pursued by some US politicians.
Responding to a query about the order's claims at a daily press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that according to reports, in its operations in the US, TikTok's middle and senior management personnel, including the chief executive officer, are all Americans. Its servers are in the US, data centers in the US and Singapore, and teams all localized. The company hired 1,500 American employees and promised to create 10,000 jobs. Its audit policy and algorithm source code are open to the public.
This kind of bullying behavior is a blatant denial of the principles of market economy and fair competition, of which the United States has been styling itself as an example, and a breach of international trade rules.
Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson
"It is fair to say that TikTok has done almost everything the US side demands. However, it still cannot escape from certain US individuals' disguised and coercive robbery out of selfish political gains," Zhao said. "Some US politicians are intent on fabricating allegations from nowhere in order to strangle TikTok."
The spokesperson pointed out that "national security," in the view of some US politicians, is a one-size-fits-all pretext for the country to stir up troubles and oppress non-US companies.
The US keeps talking about TikTok and other companies jeopardizing its national security, Zhao said, but even the relevant assessment reports by the Central Intelligence Agency suggest there is no evidence showing China has intercepted TikTok's data or used the app to intrude into users' mobile phones. He added that relevant US think tanks also suggest that banning certain apps just because they belong to a Chinese company is definitely not based on security grounds.
This proves once again that the so-called "freedom" and "security" are merely excuses for the "digital gunboat policy" pursued by some US politicians, said the spokesperson.
"This kind of bullying behavior is a blatant denial of the principles of market economy and fair competition, of which the United States has been styling itself as an example, and a breach of international trade rules," said Zhao. "Wantonly sabotaging other countries' interests is destined to bring harm to the interests of the US itself," he said.
"We urge the US side to immediately correct its mistakes, stop slandering and smearing China, and cease groundlessly oppressing other countries' enterprises," Zhao added.
Separately, Oracle Corp has held preliminary talks with TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, and was seriously considering buying the app’s operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday, citing people briefed about the matter, reports Reuters.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Twitter Inc had approached ByteDance to express interest in acquiring the U.S. operations of TikTok, while Microsoft Corp was still the favorite to clinch a deal in the race.
Oracle, ByteDance and TikTok did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
With Reuters inputs
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