BEIJING: China says the United States is overstretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress foreign companies after the White House gave government agencies 30 days to remove Chinese-owned app TikTok on federal devices.
“We firmly oppose those wrong actions,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning at a regular news briefing on Tuesday (Feb 28).
The US government’s ban on the video-sharing app reveals Washington’s own insecurities and are an abuse of state power, she added.
“How unsure of itself can the US, the world’s top superpower, be to fear a young person’s favourite app to such a degree?”
PURGING TIKTOK APP FROM US FEDERAL DEVICES
The White House on Monday gave federal agencies 30 days to purge Chinese-owned video-snippet sharing app TikTok from all government-issued devices, setting a deadline to comply with a ban ordered by the US Congress.
Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young in a memorandum called on government agencies within 30 days to “remove and disallow installations” of the application on agency-owned or operated IT devices, and to “prohibit Internet traffic” from such devices to the app.
The ban does not apply to businesses in the United States not associated with the federal government, or to the millions of private citizens who use the hugely popular app.
However, a recently introduced bill in Congress would “effectively ban TikTok” in this country, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“Congress must not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression,” ACLU senior policy counsel Jenna Leventoff said in a release.
“We have a right to use TikTok and other platforms to exchange our thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people around the country and around the world.”
Owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, TikTok has become a political target due to concerns the app can be circumvented for spying or propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party.
The law signed by US President Joe Biden last month bans the use of TikTok on government-issued devices. It also bans TikTok use in the US House of Representatives and Senate.
National security concerns over alleged Chinese spying have grown over the past month after a Chinese balloon traversed US airspace and was eventually shot down.