BEIJING AFP Aug4, 2020 - China accused the United States on Tuesday of “bullying” over popular video app TikTok, after President Donald Trump ramped up pressure for its US operations to be sold to an American company.
In the latest of a series of diplomatic spats between the world’s two biggest economies, Beijing hit back after Trump gave TikTok six weeks to arrange a sale of its US operations -- and said that his government wanted a financial benefit from the deal.
“This goes against the principles of the market economy and the (World Trade Organization’s) principles of openness, transparency and non-discrimination,” said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
“It’s outright bullying.” The app has been under formal investigation on US national security grounds, because it collects large amounts of personal data on users and is legally bound to share it with authorities in Beijing if they demand it.
Trump said that Microsoft was in talks to buy TikTok, and has given ByteDance until mid-September to strike a deal, a tactic that is almost unheard of.
“It’s got to be an American company... it’s got to be owned here,” Trump said on Monday. “We don’t want to have any problem with security.” Beijing slammed the move as “political manipulation”.