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Telling theatrical show revealing US’ witch hunt of TikTok: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-03-24 23:32

When Apple CEO Tim Cook casually strolled into an Apple store in Sanlitun, Beijing, on Friday, while on a tour of the company's largest overseas market, he was greeted with spontaneous applause by the customers after he was recognized.

In contrast, at the same time, Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, was testifying before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee in an interrogation-style hearing to prove his company's integrity.

The dramatically different treatment of the CEOs the two big multinational internet companies received shows the world's two largest economies' different attitudes to each other's companies.

While the US is constantly stooping to new lows to smear and stifle the Chinese companies, claiming they represent a security threat, China is opening its arms to US corporations.

Washington's endeavor to ban TikTok is a "xenophobic witch hunt" dating back to the previous Donald Trump administration, as Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a regular news conference in Beijing on Friday. The US government has provided no evidence or proof that TikTok threatens US national security, yet it has repeatedly suppressed and attacked the company based on the presumption of guilt. Which is brazen hypocrisy given the US' own track record of using tech to snoop, invade privacy and steal data.

The around five-hour hearing in the US Congress was nothing but a farce, as it has not proved TikTok's "guilt" but only served to expose, as many observers said, the amateurship and ignorance of the US lawmakers. The extent to which they are out of touch with the times was revealed not only by the questions they threw at Chew, such as does TikTok connect to Wifi, but also the way in which they made their inquiries: Let me ask you this very in-depth question which requires a very complex answer, but only allows you to respond with yes or no.

The witch hunt of TikTok primarily stems from the company's huge success in the US, where it has more than 150 million active users and provides nearly 5 million US businesses with a platform to find customers and fuel growth, which has made it an envy of other US internet companies, such as Facebook. It is TikTok's algorithms that constitute its core competitiveness, but it is also these which have put the company in the US government's crosshairs.

No matter how far the Trump and the Joe Biden administrations and Congress have gone in trying to ensnare the company, they don't want to see the company collapse. Rather, they want to bring it under the control of the US.

Something then US president Donald Trump made crystal clear on Aug 3, 2020, when he said that he didn't oppose Microsoft or other US companies purchasing TikTok.

The so-called Congress hearing on Friday Beijing time is just the latest attempt by the US to steal the company. In weaponizing national security, it has only laid bare to the world Washington's readiness to bend the rules, laws and values it asks others to respect, follow and practice as long as that serves its own ends.

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