UK government urged to uphold market-based rules and fair competition after TikTok ban
Published: Mar 17, 2023 02:04 AM
The logo of TikTok is displayed on the screen of a smartphone in front of a TV screen displaying the TikTok logo. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The UK government should respect objective facts, abide by the rules of the market economy and the principles of fair competition while refraining from generalizing and abusing the national security concept, Chinese Embassy in the UK said in a public statement posed on its official WeChat account on Thursday evening.

The UK government announced on Thursday that TikTok would be banned on government electronic devices, following the US' lead due to so-called security concerns.

The Chinese Embassy accused the UK government of making decisions based on political purposes instead of facts and interfering with the normal operations of relevant companies in the UK.

Such a move also undermines the international community's confidence in the UK's business environment, and ultimately harms the UK's own interests, the statement said.

The Chinese Embassy urged the UK government to refrain from generalizing and abusing the national security concept, and instead provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from all over the world.

The social media platform, which has gained rising popularity among world users, have fallen into the easy target of the US-led Western sanctions under security reasons, an allegation that the company strongly denied.

The UK's decision came just a day after Reuters' report on Wednesday, saying that the Biden administration has demanded that ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese owner, divest its stake in the popular video app or face a possible US ban.

TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter has argued that "if protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn't solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Wang Wenbin has criticized the US for failing to provide any evidence that TikTok poses a threat to US national security and urged the US to stop spreading misinformation and unreasonably suppressing relevant firms.

Wang also stressed that the data security issue should not be used as a tool for individual countries to over-generalize the concept of national security, abuse state power, or unreasonably suppress foreign companies.

Despite the US' relentless efforts to suppress TikTok, including trying to force the sale of TikTok to a US business, TikTok remained the most popular mobile app in the US in 2022, with 99 million downloads, according to Statista.

In the EU, 125 million people come to TikTok every month, according to the company.

Global Times