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China accuses US of 'political suppression' over TikTok, WeChat ban

China accuses US of 'political suppression' over TikTok, WeChat ban

FILE PHOTO: China and U.S. flags are seen near a TikTok logo in this illustration picture taken July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

BEIJING: Beijing accused the United States of "suppression" after President Donald Trump ordered sweeping restrictions against Chinese social media giants TikTok and WeChat. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing on Friday (Aug 7) that the US move came at the expense of American users and companies.

Trump's executive orders, which take effect in 45 days, bar anyone under US jurisdiction from doing business with ByteDance and Tencent, the owners of TikTok and WeChat respectively.

They come as the world's two biggest economies clash over a host of issues from the coronavirus to Hong Kong and Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Trump's orders say the social media giants are a threat to US "national security, foreign policy and economy", as the president seeks to curb China's power in global technology.

READ: US Senate bans TikTok on government devices

READ: US steps up campaign to purge 'untrusted' Chinese apps

Wang said Beijing will defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses and the United States would have to bear the consequences of its actions, without giving details.

"The US is using national security as an excuse and using state power to oppress non-American businesses. That’s just a hegemonic practice. China is firmly opposed to that," he said.

"At the expense of the rights and interests of US users and companies, the US ... is carrying out arbitrary political manipulation and suppression," he added.

READ: US announces 'highest-level' visit in decades to Taiwan, angering China

TikTok also responded to Trump's orders, threatening to take legal action in US courts.

"We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly - if not by the Administration, then by the US courts," the company said in a statement.

Source: AGENCIES/jt


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