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China state media blasts 'dirty', 'underhanded' TikTok deal

Chinese state media is coming down hard on the U.S. government.

By Aimee Pearcy , written on September 23, 2020

From The News Desk

Last night, China Daily, a daily newspaper owned by the Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party, published an editorial claiming that the proposed TikTok deal is a “dirty and underhanded trick”. 

The article claims that TikTok’s success has made the U.S. government feel uneasy, and has accused Washington of bullying it into allowing Walmart and Oracle to “effectively take over the company”. 

The article states:

“What the United States has done to TikTok is almost the same as a gangster forcing an unreasonable and unfair business deal on a legitimate company.

The success TikTok has achieved —  it is reportedly TikTok is expected to generate about a billion dollars in revenue by the end of 2020 — has apparently made Washington feel uneasy, and it has used national security as the pretext to ban the short video sharing app.”

 

A few hours earlier, Chinese state-backed Global Times penned their own editorial, stating that the ‘TikTok extortion deal is “unpalatable gambit”. 

As part of the deal, ByteDance has created a U.S. subsidiary known as ‘TikTok Global’. China has criticized the terms of the deal, including the 4-1 majority of Americans on the board and the proposal that ByteDance will be made to reveal its algorithm to Oracle. The single Chinese board seat for TikTok Global is set to be given to Zhang Yiming -- the CEO and founder of ByteDance. 

If you have no idea WTF is happening, you’re not alone. The TikTok deal is still clouded with confusion, and both countries seem to have very different ideas about what the plan is. 

Last Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department revealed a new order that would prevent people from downloading TikTok and WeChat as of Sep 20 -- a move that was later blocked by the U.S. district court. 

But then, on Saturday, Trump approved the proposal for Oracle -- the U.S. company that started out as a CIA project back in 1975 -- to host and process U.S. user data. 

But aside from putting U.S. citizens’ data in the hands of the modern surveillance state, perhaps the most terrifying part of the arrangement was the part where Trump told reporters at the White House that the companies had agreed to contribute $5 billion to a new U.S-based education foundation. The money would be directed toward teaching American children “real history, not the fake history”...whatever that means. 

Trump has stated that China must cede control of TikTok or he ‘won’t make the deal’. But on Monday, ByteDance announced that it would still own 80% of TikTok Global, while Oracle and Walmart would own 12.5% and 7.5% respectively. ByteDance also announced that it would not transfer its algorithms to any U.S. company. 

Meanwhile Oracle has claimed that ByteDance’s ownership would be distributed between its investors, and that it would ultimately have...0% stake in TikTok Global. 

Whatever happens, it looks like we’re in for a long, exhausting slog before this is over. 

China would probably have more credibility here if it didn’t regularly engage in similar practices in its own country. It’s not the first time its protectionism has come back to bite it

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