American Lawmakers Want To Force A Sale Of TikTok. CCP Officials ‘Resolutely Oppose’ It.
Zhao Jun/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Officials in China “resolutely oppose” a potential forced sale of social media platform TikTok in the United States from its Chinese parent company, a move that many American lawmakers have floated in response to national security and data privacy issues linked to the company.

Both Democrats and Republicans have raised concerns over allegations that user information on TikTok can be accessed by employees of ByteDance, the Chinese technology firm which owns TikTok, and associates of the Chinese Communist Party. Shu Jueting, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, remarked on Thursday that officials will not permit a forced divestiture of TikTok from ByteDance, according to a report from the Associated Press.

“If the news is true, China will resolutely oppose it,” she told reporters at a news conference, adding that the sale “would seriously damage investors from multiple countries including China” and hurt “confidence to invest in the United States.”

The remarks came hours before TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the extent to which officials in China maintain authority and influence over TikTok and ByteDance. He insisted that the latter is not an “agent of China or any other country” in his opening remarks.

“I am well aware that the fact that ByteDance has Chinese founders has prompted concerns that our platform could be used as or become a tool of China or the Chinese Communist Party. There have even been calls to ban us or require divestment,” Chew testified. “Divestment does not address the fundamental concerns that I have heard, as a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access. This is not an issue of nationality.”

Some officials have called for a nationwide ban on TikTok, while others have pressed the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a board that evaluates the national security ramifications of international investments, to mandate a divestiture from ByteDance. TikTok committed in one recent proposal called Project Texas to spend $1.5 billion protecting user data and ensuring that Chinese officials cannot access user information.

President Joe Biden and multiple state officials have banned TikTok from government devices after reports indicated that ByteDance staffers in China used the platform to monitor the locations of specific American users. Lawmakers appeared broadly unconvinced on Thursday that a divestiture would address their concerns.

“From the data it collects to the content it controls, TikTok is a grave threat of foreign influence in American life,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said. “It’s been said it is like allowing the Soviet Union the power to produce Saturday morning cartoons during the Cold War but much more powerful and much more dangerous.”


On the other hand, lawmakers such as Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) have asserted that the more than 150 million users of TikTok in the United States would be irreparably harmed by actions against the firm. “TikTok as a platform has created a community and a space for free speech,” Bowman said at a Wednesday press conference supporting TikTok. “It is also a place where 5 million small businesses are selling their products and services and making a living.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  American Lawmakers Want To Force A Sale Of TikTok. CCP Officials ‘Resolutely Oppose’ It.