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

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After a five-hour thrashing in a U.S. congressional listening to, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has emerged in China as a lone hero preventing an uphill battle towards American anti-Chinese language paranoia.

On Friday, Chinese language web customers, commentators and officers rallied round Chew who earlier than Thursday’s listening to was a little-known determine among the many basic Chinese language public. State media described the hearings as a farce and an “embarrassment” for america whereas China’s International Ministry mentioned the method amounted to the “unreasonable suppression” of TikTok.

The ever-present short-video app is caught in a worsening U.S.-China rivalry that has reached new ranges of mutual suspicion in current months over allegations of espionage involving the app. The Biden administration, citing nationwide safety dangers, is pushing TikTok’s Chinese language homeowners to promote their stakes within the firm. Beijing has mentioned it will oppose any compelled sale on the grounds that it entails the export of Chinese language know-how that would want authorities approval.

TikTok faces unsure future after 5-hour congressional thrashing

Chinese language International Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning mentioned on Friday that China “has not and won’t ask corporations or people to gather or present knowledge data and intelligence positioned in international international locations for the Chinese language authorities in a fashion that violates native legal guidelines.”

“The U.S. authorities has to this point offered no proof that TikTok is a menace to U.S. nationwide safety, however has repeatedly made presumptions of guilt and unreasonably suppressed the businesses concerned,” Mao mentioned.

TikTok’s mum or dad firm ByteDance, has bristled at any potential divestment. And in Washington, senior administration officers doubt they’ve the authorized authority to ban TikTok — as some are calling for — with out an act of Congress, an individual with information of inner authorities discussions informed the Washington Submit.

On the micro-blogging web site Weibo, Chew drew sympathy from the netizens who referred to as him a “lonely hero” and a “brave gentleman,” applauding his grace beneath stress. (Many additionally hailed him for his attractiveness and pitied his unhealthy luck.) Others ridiculed American lawmakers and the polarized U.S. political setting.

“TikTok’s listening to reveals that the 2 events can discover frequent floor — so long as they’ve the CEO of a social media platform to function their punching bag,” learn one in style touch upon the microblog Weibo.

“Poor Shou Zi Chew. He’s actually a sheep amongst wolves. Any excuse will serve a tyrant,” wrote Fan Yongpeng, deputy director of the China Institute at Fudan College, in touch upon the listening to.

America’s on-line privateness issues are a lot larger than TikTok

Chinese language web customers deplored how U.S. lawmakers aggressively questioned Chew, interrupting him and tried to catch him in verbal traps.

An editorial from state-run International Instances mentioned the hearings made America appear like a bully in entrance of the world. It criticized what it referred to as “political persecution” of TikTok and U.S. makes an attempt to “pressure it to pledge allegiance to america.”

Influential commentator and former International Instances editor Hu Xijin, in the meantime, wrote that banning TikTok can be like “detonating a nuclear bomb in Times Square” when it comes to the harm to america’ popularity.

Nonetheless, Chinese language censors and platform regulators made makes an attempt to comprise the outrage on-line. A number of hashtags in regards to the TikTok hearings appeared to have been eliminated. Regardless of the heated dialogue on-line, no TikTok-related hashtags have been among the many prime 50 trending matters on Weibo. One Weibo consumer complained that the movies posted about Chew had been deleted by the platform.

As issues about TikTok’s future in america mount, some Chinese language e-commerce homeowners that had deliberate to do enterprise within the American market by way of TikTok are having second ideas. In accordance with Chinese language tech media outlet Huxiu, a number of have mentioned they’re turning their focus to Southeast Asia.

Some Chinese language specialists fearful that TikTok’s present ordeal foreshadows what different Chinese language corporations within the West might quickly face. Among the many prime 10 most downloaded apps on Apple’s App Retailer within the U.S., 4 of them have been made by Chinese language corporations, together with TikTok, on-line market Temu owned by China-based PDD holdings, fast-fashion big Shein, and video editor CapCut, which can also be owned ByteDance.

A report from Fudan Growth Institute that analyzed Twitter posts from U.S. lawmakers concluded many have been “utilizing TikTok as a device” to warn the American public about the specter of international interference in addition to “create a way of disaster.”

The report concluded that if the present development continues, all components of American society will danger falling prey to collective Sinophobia.

“U.S.-China competitors will solely worsen,” it mentioned. “For Chinese language corporations going overseas, the difficulties encountered by TikTok could also be just the start.”

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