TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is a hero defying a bullying U.S. in China

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Right after a five-hour verbal thrashing in a U.S. congressional listening to, TikTok chief government Shou Zi Chew has emerged in China as a lone hero fighting an uphill struggle towards American anti-Chinese paranoia.

On Friday, Chinese internet people, commentators and officials rallied about Chew, who prior to Thursday’s hearing was tiny regarded to the Chinese community. State media explained the hearings as a farce and an “embarrassment” for the United States, and China’s Overseas Ministry stated the procedure amounted to the “unreasonable suppression” of TikTok.

The ubiquitous short-video clip app is caught in a worsening U.S.-China rivalry that has attained new degrees of mutual suspicion in latest months in excess of allegations of espionage involving the application. The Biden administration, citing nationwide stability threats, is pushing TikTok’s Chinese proprietors to provide their stakes in the company. Beijing has said it would oppose any pressured sale on the grounds that it requires an export of Chinese technology that desires government acceptance.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning reported Friday that China “has not and will not ask companies or people to accumulate or provide knowledge facts and intelligence located in overseas countries for the Chinese federal government in a manner that violates community legal guidelines.”

“The U.S. federal government has so much provided no evidence that TikTok is a risk to U.S. nationwide stability but has repeatedly created presumptions of guilt and unreasonably suppressed the providers concerned,” Mao reported.

TikTok’s mum or dad company, ByteDance, has bristled at the notion of any potential divestment. And in Washington, senior administration officers doubt they have the legal authority to ban TikTok — a transfer for which some are contacting — with no an act of Congress, a man or woman with know-how of inside federal government discussions told The Washington Article on the ailment of anonymity to talk about inside deliberations.

On the microblogging site Weibo, Chew drew sympathy from consumers, who referred to as him a “lonely hero” and a “courageous gentleman,” applauding what they observed as his grace under pressure. (Several also hailed him for his great appears and pitied his lousy luck.) Some others ridiculed American lawmakers and the polarized U.S. political environment.

“TikTok’s listening to reveals that the two parties can uncover popular floor — as prolonged as they have the CEO of a social media system to provide as their punching bag,” examine just one popular remark on Weibo.

“Poor Shou Zi Chew. He’s actually a sheep among the wolves. Any excuse will serve a tyrant,” wrote Supporter Yongpeng, the deputy director of the China Institute at Fudan University.

America’s on-line privacy difficulties are a lot even larger than TikTok

Chinese online end users deplored U.S. lawmakers’ aggressive questioning of Chew, indicating they interrupted him and tried to capture him in verbal traps.

An editorial in the state-operate Worldwide Situations mentioned the hearings built the United States search like a bully in entrance of the world. It criticized what it referred to as “political persecution” of TikTok and U.S. attempts to “force it to pledge allegiance to the United States.”

The influential commentator and previous Global Situations editor Hu Xijin wrote that a U.S. ban on TikTok would trigger reputational hurt to the United States akin to “detonating a nuclear bomb in Situations Square.”

Even now, Chinese censors and platform regulators tried to contain the outrage on the web. A number of hashtags about the TikTok listening to appeared to have been taken off. Regardless of the heated discussion online, no TikTok-related hashtags were among the the top rated 50 trending matters on Weibo. A single Weibo user complained that the movies posted about Chew experienced been deleted by the system.

As issues about TikTok’s long run in the United States mount, some Chinese e-commerce firms that had prepared to do company in the American industry through TikTok are claimed to be getting second thoughts. According to the Chinese tech-media outlet Huxiu, various have stated they are turning their target to Southeast Asia.

Some Chinese observers fearful that TikTok’s ordeal foreshadows what other Chinese corporations functioning in the West quickly might confront. Among the 10 most downloaded apps on Apple’s Application Keep in the United States, 4 — which include TikTok — are Chinese-designed. All those apps incorporate the online market Temu, which is owned by China-based PDD holdings the fast-trend giant Shein and the movie editor CapCut, also owned by ByteDance.

A report from the Fudan Growth Institute that analyzed Twitter posts from U.S. lawmakers concluded numerous had been “using TikTok as a tool” to warn the American public about the risk of overseas interference as very well as “create a sense of disaster.”

The report concluded that if the present-day pattern proceeds, all components of American modern society will possibility falling prey to Sinophobia.

“U.S.-China competition will only worsen,” it stated. “For Chinese businesses likely overseas, the issues encountered by TikTok may perhaps be just the beginning.”

Lyric Li in Seoul and Pei-Lin Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

Sherri Crump

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