China Condemns U.S. Proposal to Force the Sale of TikTok

China on Wednesday condemned U.S. lawmakers’ push to force the Chinese parent company of TikTok to sell the popular short video platform.

In Washington, House lawmakers were expected to vote on a bill later in the day that would require the Chinese internet company ByteDance to cut ties with TikTok or face a nationwide ban. Lawmakers say that Beijing could use TikTok to spread Chinese Communist Party messages or gain access to sensitive data about TikTok’s American users.

Beijing rejected concerns that the app was a danger to the United States.

“In recent years, though the United States has never found any evidence of TikTok posing a threat to U.S. national security, it has never stopped going after TikTok,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, during a daily press briefing.

China has opposed previous efforts in the United States to force ByteDance to give up TikTok.

The fervor over the House bill is the latest episode in a yearslong saga over the app’s future in the United States.

TikTok, the global version of ByteDance’s popular Chinese social media app Douyin, has 170 million users in the United States. TikTok’s influence, particularly among younger people, has become inescapable. President Biden’s re-election campaign has used it to reach out to voters.

TikTok’s offices in Culver City, Calif., on Monday.Credit…Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Mr. Wang accused Washington of “resorting to hegemonic moves when one could not succeed in fair competition.”

The scrutiny of TikTok disrupted global business, sowed investor distrust in the United States, and would “eventually backfire on the U.S. itself,” he said.

The House bill has bipartisan support, underscoring the willingness of lawmakers to be tough on China, although it faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Mr. Biden said on Friday that he would sign the bill if it passes Congress.

Former President Donald J. Trump has come out against the bill, despite once issuing an executive order himself that proposed a forced sale of the app.

Last year, Beijing said it would firmly oppose the forced sale of the platform hours before TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Chew, testified before Congress. China’s Commerce Ministry said at the time that the Chinese government would need to sign off on any such sale.

In 2020, Beijing updated its rules governing exports to include technology similar to the algorithm that TikTok uses to recommend videos to its users. Bids from American companies including Microsoft and Oracle to take over the U.S. operations of TikTok were ultimately shelved.

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