Mnuchin threatens TikTok deal, part of US robbery scheme: expert

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/1 19:21:15 Last Updated: 2020/10/1 19:18:15

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Photo: Xinhua

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday (US time) reportedly threatened to shut down Chinese social media platform TikTok, if the potential deal between TikTok and American firms couldn't close on US terms. Experts slammed the ill-intended statement and believe it was, again, a move to further exert pressure on the Chinese firm and extort it.

Mnuchin told a CNBC interview that "We'll see if the [TikTok] deal can be closed on our terms. We'll do it. If not, it will be shut down." He claimed that the code will have to be in the US, and Oracle will be responsible for rebuilding and sanitizing the code, making sure it's safe in their cloud.

"The threat is aimed at gaining leverage by increasing pressure, rather than to shut down the Chinese app," Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

TikTok. Photo:VCG

Companies operating overseas needs to comply with local laws and regulations. However, it doesn't mean that one politician could simply roll out a so-called executive order, targeting one company, to fulfill his unlimited and unlawful purposes, Xiang noted.

It was not the first time that US politicians used the catch-all disguise of national security threat to crack down on Chinese tech firms without evidence.

TikTok is the international version of Chinese short-video sharing app Douyin, and operates entirely outside the Chinese mainland. Even the CIA confirmed that there is "no evidence" Chinese intelligence services have ever accessed TikTok data, the Forbes reported. 

The TikTok download ban by the Trump administration has already been suspended by a US court.

As for Oracle's role dealing with TikTok's code, Xiang said that China, unlike the US, has never been interested in implementing backdoors to collect information through firms operating overseas.

Chinese authorities and firms should hit back at vicious moves by the Trump administration to bully TikTok and try to carve up interest from the normal and lawful operations of Chinese firms, Xiang said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian in August said China supports relevant companies' use of legal weapons to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, and will continue to take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legal rights and interests of Chinese companies.

Global Times

Posted in: COMPANIES

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