China says doesn’t ask companies for overseas knowledge as TikTok row grows

TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing entitled “TikTok: How Congress can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms,” as lawmakers scrutinize the Chinese-owned video-sharing app, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2023.

TikTok Chief Government Shou Zi Chew testifies earlier than a Home Power and Commerce Committee listening to entitled “TikTok: How Congress can Safeguard American Information Privateness and Defend Youngsters from On-line Harms,” as lawmakers scrutinize the Chinese language-owned video-sharing app, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2023.
| Picture Credit score: REUTERS

China insisted Friday it doesn’t ask corporations handy over knowledge gathered abroad, because the Chinese language-owned TikTok faces mounting requires a ban in america.

Strain is constructing on the massively fashionable video-sharing app – owned by the Chinese language agency Bytedance – to acquire new possession or lose entry to the large U.S. market.

In a gruelling five-hour listening to with U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew confronted relentless questioning from combative U.S. lawmakers on either side of the political aisle over the app’s ties to China and its hazard to teenagers.

On the crux of a lot of the fears over TikTok is a 2017 Chinese language regulation that requires native companies handy over private knowledge to the state whether it is related to nationwide safety.

Beijing on Friday denied it might ask Chinese language companies handy over knowledge gathered abroad and claimed it “attaches nice significance to defending knowledge privateness”.

China “has by no means and won’t require corporations or people to gather or present knowledge positioned in another country”, International Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning instructed an everyday briefing.

“The U.S. authorities has up to now not supplied any proof that TikTok poses a menace to its nationwide safety,” Ms. Mao added.

In a single significantly heated change on Thursday, Mr. Chew was pressured to acknowledge that some private knowledge of Individuals was nonetheless topic to Chinese language regulation, however insisted that may quickly be modified.

The agency additionally acknowledged in November that some staff in China may entry European person knowledge after which admitted in December that staff had used the info to spy on journalists.

However the group has insisted that the Chinese language authorities has no management over or entry to its knowledge.

“ByteDance isn’t owned or managed by the Chinese language authorities and is a non-public firm,” Mr. Chew instructed lawmakers in his opening remarks, referring to TikTok’s China-based dad or mum firm.

“We imagine what’s wanted are clear clear guidelines that apply broadly to all tech corporations – possession isn’t on the core of addressing these issues,” Mr. Chew added.

The Harvard-educated former banker didn’t defuse an existential menace to TikTok because the app seeks to outlive a White House ultimatum that it both cut up from its Chinese language possession or be banned in america.

Lawmakers from the Home Power and Commerce Committee afforded Mr. Chew no respite, often denying him alternatives to broaden on his solutions or tout the location’s enormous world reputation with younger individuals.

A ban can be an unprecedented act on a media firm by the U.S. authorities, reducing off the nation’s 150 million month-to-month customers from an app that has turn out to be a cultural powerhouse – particularly for younger individuals.

“TikTok has repeatedly chosen the trail for extra management, extra surveillance and extra manipulation. Your platform must be banned,” committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers stated.

Supporters of TikTok and free speech activists criticised the listening to as political theatre and urged towards an outright ban.

“Taking a bludgeon to TikTok, and by extension to Individuals’ First Modification protections, isn’t the correct resolution to the dangers that TikTok poses to the privateness of Individuals and to the nationwide safety of america,” stated Nadine Farid Johnson of PEN America, which defends free speech.

And Beijing famous on Friday that “some within the U.S. congress acknowledged that in search of a ban of TikTok is a xenophobic political persecution”.

TikTok nonetheless hopes to appease the authorities.

Mr. Chew’s testimony promoted the corporate’s elaborate plan – generally known as Mission Texas – to fulfill nationwide safety issues, beneath which the dealing with of U.S. knowledge shall be ring-fenced right into a U.S.-run division.

However lawmakers poured doubts on the mission, saying it might do nothing to take away their issues that TikTok was weak to China.