In what is perhaps the most compelling sign yet that Beijing has put the kibosh on the Oracle-TikTok deal, the Global Times on Tuesday published a scathing editorial attacking President Trump for attempting a "robbery" of TikTok and violate China's "dignity."
The paper's editorial writers echoed claims made in an editorial published more than six weeks ago by the People's Daily - that Beijing would never tolerate Trump transferring majority ownership of TikTok to the US. Furthermore, as Kyle Bass explained earlier, anything that would require the company to fork over its content-recommendation algorithm is an instant deal breaker. Beijing has previously said it would rather shut down TikTok US than hand the business to the Americans.
Writers explained that by turning over source code from TikTok to Oracle, Americans would also gain insight into the operations of Douyin, TikTok's counterpart built for the Chinese market (which, remember, runs on an entirely separate, cordoned-off internet).
Throwing Trump's words back in his face, the writers insisted Beijing didn't appreciate the president's characterization that the new TikTok would have "nothing" to do with China.
Because even more than money, China must have the credit. Like Bass explained, the CCP is fighting a narrative war against the US.
And in case the point wasn't clear, the Global Times editor, Hu Xijin, drives it home with a tweet.
Stop extorting. You think TikTok is a company from a small country? There's no way the Chinese government will accept your demand. You can ruin TikTok's US business, if US users do not object, but you can't rob it and turn it into a US baby. pic.twitter.com/Jskn9PjIFU— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) September 22, 2020
Here are some more excerpts courtesy of Bloomberg:
- "China as a big country will not accept blackmail from the US,” the Global Times said
- "Nor will it hand over control of an outstanding high-tech Chinese company to extortionists"
- "We cannot let these Chinese companies be arbitrarily slaughtered by the US"
- "We are ready to fight resolutely against the bullying and gangster-like logic of the US"
Read the editorial below:
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It was reported Sunday, Beijing time, that US President Donald Trump approved a deal in principle between TikTok's parent company ByteDance, and Oracle and Walmart. The main content of the deal was later disclosed. From the information provided by the US, the deal was unfair. It caters to the unreasonable demands of Washington. It's hard for us to believe that Beijing will approve such an agreement.
Although people can have various interpretations, some articles in the agreement show what the problems are.
For instance, American citizens will take up four of the five board seats for TikTok Global and only one can be Chinese. The board of TikTok Global would include a national security director, who will have to be approved by the US.
Oracle will have the authority to check the source code of TikTok USA and updates. As the TikTok and Douyin should have the same source code, this means the US can get to know the operations of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
TikTok Global will control the business of TikTok around the world except China. It will block IP from the Chinese mainland to access it. This means the Americans can take control of the global business of TikTok and reject Chinese to access it.
It is clear that these articles extensively show Washington's bullying style and hooligan logic. They hurt China's national security, interests and dignity. ByteDance is an ordinary company in China. The US suppresses it with all its national strength and forces it to sign a deal under coercion. China, also a major country, will not yield to US intimidation and will not accept an unequal treaty that targets Chinese companies.
When Trump said he had approved the new TikTok deal, he noted the new company would have "nothing to do" with China and would be fully controlled by the US. On Monday, he said Oracle and Walmart would have total control of the service; otherwise, "we're not going to approve the deal."
It seems this is not his campaign language, but the Trump administration's real attitude toward restructuring TikTok. Washington is way too confident and has underestimated China's determination to defend its basic rights and dignity.
The US is a big market. If the reorganization of TikTok under US manipulation becomes a model, it means once any successful Chinese company expands its business to the US and becomes competitive, it will be targeted by the US and turned into a US-controlled company via trickery and coercion, which eventually serves only US interests.
If China surrenders, which country in the world can resist? The US encirclement of TikTok and the global huntdown of Huawei are stifling the hopes of high-tech companies around the world for having world-class technologies and independent development. Once Washington succeeds, the US will enjoy global technological hegemony forever.
China will not accept this kind of bullying arrangement of the US. The US is taking discriminatory action to squeeze TikTok. In an era when countries have concerns about network data security, US internet giants set up branches around the world. But does any one of them hand over its control to companies of the host country? Which company's board members must be approved by the government of the host country?
Washington's huntdown on TikTok is creating problems for US internet companies worldwide. With cyber security increasingly becoming a common issue, there must be countries that will imitate the US to take action against American companies. The precedent set by the US will eventually hurt its own companies.
Issues concerning global internet data security should be addressed in a fair, reasonable and effective manner. China has put forward an eight-point proposal for this. The US seeks its own interests in a hegemonic way, and attempts to maintain its technological hegemony under the guise of cyber security. This cannot be accepted by international society, including China. It's hoped the US returns to globalization from "America First," and retake the universal commercial values that will not only benefit itself but also others.