China is opposing a decision by President Donald Trump that would require ByteDance, the owners of the popular TikTok app, to divest their ownership and hand over the app to a U.S. buyer.
In a Monday editorial article, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operated China Daily criticizing the Trump administration’s move to force TikTok to be sold off. China Daily called the potential U.S. divestment order an act of “bullying” and a “smash and grab” and said “China will by no means accept the ‘theft’ of a Chinese technology company.”
Microsoft has offered to buy TikTok from ByteDance, potentially facilitating the Chinese company’s divestment from the app.
The talks come amid concerns its Chinese ownership may lead to the harvesting of U.S. user data by the Chinese government, however the China Daily editorial comes as a stern rebuke of the idea that China should be compelled to sell off the app.
“After vowing to ban the popular short-video sharing app TikTok in the United States on Friday, the US president is reportedly weighing the advantages of allowing Microsoft to purchase its US operations,” China Daily wrote.
Reuters reported Trump issued a deadline on Monday, giving ByteDance 45 days to reach a deal to sell TikTok or see the app banned in the U.S. entirely.
The Chinese publication concluded the editorial warning that China “has plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab.”
The Trump administration’s concerns over TikTok have been gestating for some time. The U.S. Department of Defense has identified the app as a security risk and the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy both banned their personnel from using the app by December of 2019.
Following a border clash between China and India in June, India banned dozens of Chinese apps nationwide, including TikTok. At the time, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology cited concerns the Chinese apps were being used to steal user information.