‘Your Platform Should be Banned’: Congress Grills TikTok CEO on CCP Ties

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Members of Congress and the CEO of TikTok are engaging in a series of heated exchanges over the app’s ties to China’s communist regime, as the House holds a hearing on TikTok’s data privacy practices.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is appearing before a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the first time ever, in an attempt to defend the company’s data privacy practices and links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state.

Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) opened the hearing with several salvos lambasting TikTok’s ties to the Chinese communist regime through its China-based parent company ByteDance.

“CCP laws require Chinese companies like ByteDance to spy on their behalf,” Rodgers said. “That means any Chinese company must grant the CCP access and manipulation capabilities as a design feature.”

“TikTok surveils us all and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is able to use this as a tool to manipulate America as a whole. We do not trust TikTok will ever embrace American values.”

CEO Seeks to Distance Himself From ByteDance 

The hearing comes as Congress and the Biden administration explore the possibility of forcing TikTok to be sold to an American company or else banning the app from the United States completely due to national security concerns.

Though Chew has tried to distance TikTok’s image from that of the China-based ByteDance, he himself has deep ties to the company, having previously served as its chief financial officer in Beijing.

Similarly, Chew is reportedly one of only 12 executives who report directly to ByteDance CEO Liang Rubo, as first reported by The Information.

Moreover, the apparent inseparability of TikTok and ByteDance was on full display when Chew arrived for the hearing flanked by prominent ByteDance lobbyists including Michael Beckerman. Though Beckerman serves as TikTok’s top government relations official, he ultimately reports his activities to the U.S. government under ByteDance’s name.

When asked by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) about Beckerman’s presence and his previous refusals to acknowledge the ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region, Chew initially dodged.

By Andrew Thornebrooke

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