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TikTok, Beijing say Trump's ban ignores facts, harms U.S.-China relations

A tablet running the TikTok application is seen in Shanghai, China, on Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a ban against the company on Thursday. Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
A tablet running the TikTok application is seen in Shanghai, China, on Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a ban against the company on Thursday. Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The Chinese government and video-sharing platform TikTok slammed U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday after he signed an executive order barring the social app from doing business with firms in the United States.

Trump signed the order Thursday night, which also barred the Chinese messaging app WeChat in restrictions that take effect in 45 days. The order cites concerns that both platforms could be used by Beijing to access U.S. data.

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The order came after Trump urged TikTok to move forward with a proposed sale to U.S. tech giant Microsoft, a push that angered Beijing, which called the move "open robbery" and "theft."

TikTok, which has a U.S.-based operations chief and its largest office in Los Angeles, threatened to take legal action to block Trump's ban.

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"This executive order risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth," TikTok responded in a statement.

"And it sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets. We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly -- if not by the administration, then by the U.S. courts."

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TikTok says it has an estimated 100 million users in the United States and has become popular among teenagers and young adults, who share short-form videos on the platform.

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The app said Trump ordered the ban "without any due process."

"For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed," TikTok said. "What we encountered instead was that the administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses."

Yang Jiechi, a top member of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee and director of its Office of Foreign Affairs, criticized the state of U.S.-China relations in a statement Friday.

"We urge U.S. decision makers to respect facts of history, recognize the trend of the times, heed the visionary calls in the U.S., and listen to the voice of the international community," he wrote.

"We urge them to redress mistakes and change course, and work with China to manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, and bring China-U.S. relations back to the track of sound and steady development."

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"Some anti-China elements in the U.S. are abusing the concept of 'national security' to deliberately obstruct the normal interactions between the two countries and to mislead the American people in an attempt to cause irreversible damage to China-U.S. relations," he added.

"The friendly exchanges between the Chinese and American people cannot be cut off by some U.S. politicians through political maneuvering. The Chinese side welcomes more American people from all walks of life to China to see and experience the country for what it really is."

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