Chinese state media late Monday warned against what it called the US’s “theft” of the social media app TikTok, cautioning that Beijing may retaliate.
The English-language China Daily newspaper published an editorial which highlighted China’s toughest protection of TikTok yet and cautioned that Beijing may block the sale of TikTok to American company Microsoft.
“China will by no means accept the ‘theft’ of a Chinese technology company, and it has plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab,” it reads.
While it’s noted that China Daily is not the official voice of the Chinese government, it has on occasion been used as the publication arm for the country’s messaging, and yesterday’s editorial has gone as far as to reference the Microsoft deal backed by the Trump administration tantamount to “theft.”
“With competitiveness now dependent on the ability to collect and use data, it offers an either-or choice of submission or mortal combat in the tech realm,” the China Daily said.
US officials have claimed that TikTok poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. In a statement, the White House said it has “very serious national security concerns” regarding the Chinese app, which currently has 100 million users in the US.
Reports emerged late last week that Microsoft was in talks to buy TikTok’s US operation. In ByteDance’s proposal, it suggested that Microsoft could be in charge of protecting all of TikTok’s US user data.