Chinese Embassy Lobbies Congress Against TikTok Bill: Report

Chinese Embassy officials met with congressional staffers to lobby against a bill that would force TikTok’s sale to a non-Chinese company, Politico reported Wednesday. 

The Capitol Hill staffers—one working in the House and the other in the Senate—said the Chinese Embassy initiated the meetings with them, where its diplomats downplayed the national security concerns with TikTok and tried to align the Chinese-owned app with American interests, according to the Politico report. 

During the meetings, embassy officials reportedly stressed that not all of TikTok parent company ByteDance’s board members are Chinese nationals, while warning a TikTok ban would harm American investors with shares in ByteDance. 

The two congressional staffers added that the meetings took place after the House in March voted 352-65 in favor of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which would ban TikTok in the United States unless its Beijing-based parent company sells it to a non-Chinese entity. 

U.S. officials have long been concerned about the popular video-sharing platform’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party, with both President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump expressing national security concerns. In January, lawmakers grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew over his and his company’s relationship with the Chinese government. 

TikTok in response to the Wednesday report said the embassy’s alleged meetings with the congressional staffers are “news to us” and that “it’s absurd to ask us to comment on anonymous sources we know nothing about.”

“Since the bill’s introduction, we’ve been publicly vocal about why we oppose the ban bill,” TikTok spokesman Alex Haurek said. “This so-called reporting doesn’t pass the smell test and it’s irresponsible for Politico to print it.”

The Chinese Embassy did not deny that the meetings occurred, with its spokesman Liu Pengyu claiming the embassy “tries to tell the truth about the TikTok issue to people from all walks of life in the US” and that “this is not about lobbying for a single company, but about whether all Chinese companies can be treated fairly.”

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

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