back to article China slams President Trump's TikTok banned-or-be-bought plan in the US

China has accused the US of abusing its national security laws to target Chinese companies after Washington threatened to ban video-sharing app TikTok from its shores last week. On Saturday, the Trump administration vowed to "close down" the Chinese-owned video-sharing app unless it is bought by a "very American" company …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really much you can say, Trump is an idiot.

    1. cbars Silver badge

      I don't think this is the right demonstration of that. He may be, (and I think he's a lying swine with no morals and less sense) but as stated US companies can't get into China... why allow Chinese companies to get rich off Americans?

      Broken clocks and all that.

      1. b0llchit
        Alert

        why allow Chinese companies to get rich off Americans?

        Because Americans want cheap stuff produced in a country that can make stuff for a fraction of the (p)rice that American production would take. So much difference indeed that the American companies can make a very decent profit by selling the cheap Chinese stuff to the American consumers.

        Americans love capitalism, don't they? Or is that only if they are on the positive/winning side of the balance? And surely, the Americans have always played a fair game (just like with all the south American countries).

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          What ticks me off, as an American, is that I can buy a lot of useful and different tools at Harbor Freight, which are not available at Sears/Home Depot/Ace/Lowe's/etc at any price.

          1. NeilPost Bronze badge

            ... ... Made in China ??

            Microsoft need their heads examined for showing any interest in TikTok. Another $20bn+ of shareholder value down the toilet if it goes through.

            They’d be better loaning any spare cash to Rishi Sunak and banking 2% interest on a 10 year bond for doing fuck all.. or investing the money in Amazon or Apple ;-)

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        Incorrect premise?

        US companies can't get into China...

        There is a VERY long list of American companies active in China at http://jiesworld.com/international_corporations_in_china.htm It seems likely that if Donald the Useless continues his rather poorly thought out assault on Chinese companies in the US, the list of US companies operating in China will abruptly get shorter.

        One problem with trade wars is that the enemy gets to shoot back.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Incorrect premise?

          Of course - at the Chinese conditions, which usually means partnering with a Chinese company and surrendering IP.

          The problem with Trump is he does big mistakes even doing the right thing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Incorrect premise?

            I myself have a very low, to say the least, opinion of the Donald, who is so much a farce in himself he is even present in video games, like Hitman 2016, in Bangkok, front of the hotel, where he's talking garbage as usual !

            But one (only) thing he did right was to stop China from doing asymmetrical business and taking the piss to every single country out there. A good kick in the balls stopped them eventually.

            1. StickThatInYourPieHole

              Re: Incorrect premise?

              All well and good except the way the TikTok deal is going down at the moment is completely unlike what happens to foreign companies in China. Companies aren't forced to sell or get banned. They are given a choice right up front to either partner up to participate or not enter the market at all.

              What's happening for this deal is pretty much extortion.

            2. JClouseau

              Re: Incorrect premise?

              to stop China from doing asymmetrical business

              To be fair China's never forced us (US/Europe) to off best-shore our entire production of goods (or services) there (or India, Vietnam, ...), it's not as if there was ever a deal like "OK guys, we're giving you large chunks of our manufacturing, but behave, let's play fair, right ?".

              I've heard a not-too-PC joke the other day from an Asian stand-upper, it was like : "Rumor has it that we Chinese have a very small d|ck. That's true : we've been fcking you in the arse for some time and you didn't feel a thing".

      3. Blank Reg Silver badge

        Except that what he is proposing is extortion, or as trump would call it, business as usual.

    2. Piro

      It doesn't have much to do with this, though.

      I wish the UK would have shown more protectionism, way too many businesses have been sold off left and right.

      1. Citizen of Nowhere

        This action by the Trump administration doesn't have anything to do with protectionism though. Forcing a company to sell to another or be banned while demanding a cut of the proceeds is extortion not protection.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It is not protectionism we need

        "I wish the UK would have shown more protectionism, way too many businesses have been sold off left and right."

        It's short-term profit for the Management and Shareholders over long-term viability and reduced profits over much longer timescales - and if the Tories had not sold off a lot of nationalised industries then it would be the people running the unions or on state benefits who would be living the high life while the actual workers still got screwed.

        Plus ce change

      3. cbars Silver badge
        Pint

        Absofrigginlutely.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To me this smells more like one of Trump's buddies decided he/she wanted a slice of that profitable pie (Microsoft, for instance, because they're forever unsuccessfully chasing profit of ideas others have had, but usually years too late) and used/bought Trump to force the sale.

      I suspect that the Chinese have also been told not to ask too much for that slice or expect a ban instead.

      It stinks, like practically anything that Trump is involved in.

  2. b0llchit
    Black Helicopters

    tit for tat

    Microsoft has promised a "complete security review” of the company and to implement a “world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections” if the deal goes through.

    I guess this statement is, privately behind the scenes, augmented by the promise that, just like the other side, the new "very American" company will also ensure that the US' three letter agencies will have full access to the data.

    I do not trust either country to do the Right ThingTM.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: tit for tat

      Yes, the argument that "it could give data to the Chinese government" is double speak for "it isn't giving it to us."

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: tit for tat

        Trumps response to the EU and the near monopoly of US "big tech" and data transfers to the US makes for an interesting comparison. Maybe the EU should be threatening Google.ie, Google.co.uk etc with being banned or sold to "native" companies. :-)

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Hmmm

    While they are absolutely correct, there is a considerable element of karma here.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Hmmm

      Exactly. I believe the expression is "The Pot calling the Kettle Black".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm

        Yeah, American citizens should be giving their personal details to American companies!

  4. IGotOut Silver badge

    So you've missed out the big detail.

    Trump has demanded a cut for the treasury of any deal, due the fact he is forcing the price down.

    Its gone from protectionism to racketering.

    And remember, this could easily happen to ANY non US company he feels threatens the USA in competitiveness.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

      "Trump has demanded a cut for the treasury of any deal, due the fact he is forcing the price down.

      Its gone from protectionism to racket[e]ering."

      I'm surprised he didn't ask for personal commission, to be honest.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

        He'll expect that from the US Treasury.

      2. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: I'm surprised he didn't ask for personal commission, to be honest.

        It's not on record, as is par for the course.

      3. DS999

        Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

        I'm willing to bet he brought that up with his staff, only to be told that even the weak willed republicans in congress would have spoke out against him for directly asking for a monetary bribe.

        This will come out eventually, first he'll deny it, then he'll say "I could have done that if I wanted, it would have been perfectly all right" in his usual patern of deny first, then tacitly admit it but say there's nothing wrong with it.

    2. UCAP

      Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

      Sounds to me like Trump is demanding a bribe. Isn't there a law against this in the States?

      1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

        Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

        Sounds to me like Trump is demanding a bribe. Isn't there a law against this in the States

        There are plenty of laws against this. But this is, after all, Donald "Teflon" Trump. He can say anything, do anything, and still get away with it.

        Remember, this is the same Donald Trump who firmly believes that as long as he is still the PotUS he has automatic immunity for anything.

        Trump makes the Sicilian mafioso amateurish.

        Y'call that a shakedown? That's not a shakedown. Now, this. This is a shakedown. Watch and learn.

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

          He really doesn't make them look amateurish. They have to avoid being caught when there are people who can catch them, he just has to say 'I'm the president' and the people mostly go away.

          This is one of the reasons he's so scared of the election of course: if he loses then he's no longer president and he's utterly screwed. He either runs (to Russia probably) or he's in gaol for a long time.

          1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

            he's utterly screwed

            If he loses, he can turn Trump Tower and his golf courses into a Russian Embassy (or an extension of).

            Win-Win scenario.

            If he loses the November 2020 election, it will be fun to watch him go into a meltdown. I am definitely going to say his meltdown would be so catastrophic it will give TV stations rating a boost. Worldwide.

            As a matter of fact, I've gone to Costco and bought heaps of popcorn.

            Let the games BEGIN!

        2. DanceMan
          Thumb Up

          Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

          Upvoted for the Foghorn Leghorn reference.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

        That's for little people.

      3. big_D Silver badge

        Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

        You've never seen how the Beltway bandits in Washington work then, have you?

      4. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: So you've missed out the big detail.

        Sounds to me like Trump is demanding a bribe. Isn't there a law against this in the States?

        There used to be. Then the governor of Kentucky did it, and it was deemed OK by the Republican SCOTUS. Then Barr took over the DoJ, and removed all pretense.

  5. cbars Silver badge

    Come on

    How innovative do you really need to be to make an app to share video clips...?

    Does it need to be imported? No, grow it at home.

    Great, now about Facebook/Insta/Google/all of SV really.... any chance you can throw a wall around those guys and get the F out of Europe?

    1. TheIO

      Re: Come on

      We literally used to have one. It was called Vine and for no clear reason whatsoever it closed.

    2. tfb Silver badge

      Re: Come on

      They're not buying the app: they're buying the users.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Trumps statement that is has to be a American company that Bytedance sells its operations to, to stop them getting blocked in the US is pure for the US own financial gains and so the US 3 letter agencies can slurp the data themselves rather than it going to China

    Considering how the US is supposed to be a model of free market capitalism why couldn't a non china based company purchase it? I would much rather have a European owned social media platform than another one operating from the US. As apart from a few smaller localised social networks like VK in Russia, all the big social media platforms are already owned by US companies.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "all the big social media platforms are already owned by US companies."

      ..or have been/will be bought up by cash rich US tech giants. We've already seen Google and Facebook buy up competitors putatively to operate them, then shutting them down because "we wanted the IP and technology" making it harder to even begin to compete and knowing you'll get stamped on if it looks like you might succeed. And now we have Bezos admitting that Amazon staff get to see ALL the data for sales through their site so they can decide what to sell, and for how much, in direct competition with their own sellers/marketplace shops, the very people who made Amazon what it is.

      This is the downside of free market capitalism with little to no regulation or oversight. Monopolistic behaviour and abuse.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. reubs007

    Fate of UK TikTok?

    Apparently Microsoft intends to buy TikTok's operations in the US, Canada, NZ and Australia. What happens to the UK in this scenario? Will UK users be able to access US TikTok or will they be cut off? It will be a pretty thin experience with most English-language content removed. I'm not clear why MS wouldn't buy the UK operations too, not least given UK is the fifth Eye. Can anyone explain?

    1. DaveEdi

      Re: Fate of UK TikTok?

      Because post Brexit, Boris want's us to the US' bitch/51st State?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Boris want's us...

        Sorry no he does not. Dominic Cummings wants...

        Don't forget who is pulling Boris's puppet strings.

      2. reubs007

        Re: Fate of UK TikTok?

        This is where my confusion lies. Huawei saga shows that the UK ultimately does what it's told by US (as has always been the case e.g. with the Iraq war). Given this, why isn't the UK kicking out TikTok's Chinese owners as well?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Fate of UK TikTok?

          Because, for the sake of appearances, the UK follows the US at distance of at least 10 paces.

    2. MOV r0,r0

      Re: Fate of UK TikTok?

      It's probably historic: Bytedance was eyeing the UK as a possible international base, it had been courting Westminster and seeking significant office space in London. Then Trump pronounced.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Fate of UK TikTok?

        Makes you wonder if that's the crux of it all. He didn't like the idea of TikTok world HQ being anywhere other than the US, nothing to do with China at all. That was just a convenient hook.

  8. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Counting the seconds to the end,..TikTokTikTok..

    Oh I'm sure the Orange One will offer to include the UK in their purchase of TikTok if it gets BloJo to agree to sell off the NHS or allow unsanitary foods to be sold in the UK. After all, isn't he the man who does the deals, or so he keeps on telling everyone.

    China have always been very restrictive of letting foreign companies into their market, and even those that jump the hurdles and submit to the restrictions find themselves in a biased market. Very much a case of what goes around comes around and TikTok looks likely to go down the plughole because of that. First one to create a "competitor" could make a fortune.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Counting the seconds to the end,..TikTokTikTok..

      "China have always been very restrictive of letting foreign companies into their market, and even those that jump the hurdles and submit to the restrictions find themselves in a biased market."

      The Chinese ruling elite have long memories and long term plans. The remember The Opium Wars. That's a big reason to distrust outside powers aside from politics and dogma.

  9. DenTheMan

    Evil breeds evil

    We entered hell in 2016.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Right

    So China bans FaceBook, Google and Twitter but the USA banning TikTok is unfair and goes against market transparency.

    Okay, basically Trump banning TikTok is unfair, but come on, find another argument. That one is totally not justified.

    1. reubs007

      Re: Right

      You have a point, but the US is accusing TikTok of funnelling valuable data to the Chinese Communist Party rather than justifying this ban on trade grounds. This seems a bit thin to me. How useful is a database of publicly available cat videos and paramedics doing dance routines?

      One might speculate that bashing China is a convenient campaign strategy. Handily there is very little crossover between the TikTok and Fox News audiences.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right

        Why would the US ban a Chinese program that tracks locations and recovers images of military bases, who does what job, and every bit of personal information on their phone?

        That should all be public information, where you go, what you do, who you talk to. There is no reason to hide this information for the Chinese government. They only want to monitor you to improve the world like they do in their own country. This is a global world, and you are part of it. A part that needs constant behavior analysis to prevent you becoming a risk to the PRC.

        Don't you want to be on the winning side?

        (End Sarcasm)

        1. StickThatInYourPieHole

          Re: Right

          You'd be better off looking at Strava than TikTok for information on military bases and the such. The idea that there is a wealth of intelligence to be gleaned from videos of dancing teens and Kim Kardashian lookalikes is laughable and surely only the dimmest of the population would bite on that one.

      2. Lyndon Hills 1

        Re: Right

        One might also note, that there is quite a lot of content on TikTok taking the piss out of Trump....

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Right

          Ahhh. So we can expect El Reg to be next on the Ban list then.

          Bummer...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Right

      "So China bans FaceBook, Google and Twitter but the USA banning TikTok is unfair and goes against market transparency."

      Correct. Hypocricy on both sides. But China have laws on censorship which Google et al were unable to follow properly with filtering and take downs, so got told to follow the law or get out. The USA is being far more blatant. TokTok are not apparently breaking any laws but are being threatened spuriously anyway.

      As people often say when defending Amazon, Google et al tax payments, if you want things to change, make the laws that you need to get the change.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I can't help thinking that the moment he steps down from office there'll be a ton of writs descending on him.

  12. karlkarl Silver badge

    "Microsoft has promised a "complete security review” of the company and to implement a “world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections"

    ... hahahaha

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the Reg should ask Microsoft to confirm that the personal data they inherit from such a deal will be made available (secretly) to US federal organisations in accordance with the relevant US laws.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Now is probably a good time to ask about intentions before the security letters arrive on the door mat.

  14. MOV r0,r0

    LOL

    Criticise the CCP for breaking an international treaty and it's, "don't interfere with internal Chinese matters" but when the US proposes to act solely within US jurisdiction it's "stretching the concept of national security" and "abusing state powers".

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: LOL

      Your pulling the "look over there" routine.

      You can't take moral high ground if your being an asshole yourself.

      The USA makes out it's a defender of freedom, justice and democracy, but it's as corrupt as most other nations.

      1. MOV r0,r0

        Re: LOL

        Yes: look over there at Hong Kong. The "don't interfere with internal Chinese matters" was CCP's response to the UK pointing out they were breaking an international treaty so I guess kids miming videos must out-tragedy HK if there's a Trump-hate angle.

  15. and I

    This is just thin skin Trump revenge

    TikTok users band together a month ago to snag tickets from his disastrous rally in Tulsa and low and behold a few weeks later TikToc is a national security threat. This is the most petty, corrupt president ever seen. He even referred to the payment he wants as 'Key Money', a term for an illegal payment corrupt landlords used to demand... well he would know all about that! He should get back to dealing with the TrumpVirus but his comment was 'It is what it is!', after almost 150,000 of his citizens lie dead!

    1. Laura Kerr
      Thumb Up

      Re: This is just thin skin Trump revenge

      That astounding suggestion that the President of the United States is just having a petulant toddler tantrum...looks to be right on the money. Props.

      What's the betting he only wants control of TikTok so that his Blueshirts can track down the perps if there's a repeat of the Tulsa prank?

      1. JCitizen Bronze badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: This is just thin skin Trump revenge

        Blueshirts?

  16. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Pot, kettle, black...

    China is perhaps not in the best moral position to complain about other nations banning their companies on security grounds...

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. DS999

    Young people usually don't vote

    But anecdotally from people I know who are Tik Tok users, there are a lot of memes going around among the college aged set in the US about waking up to how politics can negatively affect them. This started when Trump was talking about banning Tik Tok, if he forces a sale I don't think they will necessarily forgive him just because it ends up sticking around.

    Sure, voting against Trump because he's messing with your favorite social network isn't exactly the most noble purpose you could hope for that gets young people to exercise their right. But if it works, it works.

  19. gerardrg

    EU solutions won’t work here

    US has lots of info on EU people which is why the EU wants the data for EU people in EU. EU believes that if they tell US companies to move the data over that it will be done eventually. No one trusts China which means EU like solutions won’t work.

    This situation could have been averted by taking India’s approach. Just ban the app. It sounds like what was going to happen until Microsoft stepped in.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: EU solutions won’t work here

      In China, the law is written down in the books, but what matters 75% of the time is what the CCP wants the law to be, regardless of what is in the books.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a joke!

    Has anyone actually looked at the technical breakdown/decompilation of the TikTok app?

    Yes, it slurps data but it is actually one of more "tame" Android apps I've ever seen.

    Meanwhile, Android apps that have been proven to be malicious and whos developers have ties to the Chinese state not only get a pass, they are flourishing on the Google Play store.

    Google of course knows all about this and quietly removes these apps only after multiple complaints but then allows these same developers and their apps back on the Play Store within a few weeks after getting a slap on the wrist.

    So, it appears to me that banning Huawei and TikTok without any evidence of wrongdoing while at the same time continuing to allow TCL/Alcatel to push devices with known malware unabated seems to be just a political stunt and/or trade bullying.

    I'm looking at an app now that was created by TCL's Shenzhen Hawk group that uses a shared library to run Facebook and Google related apps inside a virtual onclave that steals the users authentication tokens to use Google sync to capture the users contacts and installed apps, run advertising fraud with Facebook ads hidden from the user and harvests the users credit card data and session cookies from WebView and stores it in an SQLite data base before sending the data off encryted with AES. Yet TikTok is the problem?

    Give me a break.

    https://www.gadgetguy.com.au/tcl-and-alcatel-direct-links-to-massive-spyware-operation/

    https://vpnpro.com/blog/chinese-company-secretly-behind-popular-apps-seeking-dangerous-permissions/

    As a side note, Mark Zuckerberg, through his "trusted partners" program, allowed TCL/Alcatel to have low-level access to users social media data regardless of any "privacy" settings the user may have set:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/technology/facebook-device-partnerships-china.html

    So when America's infrastructure is taken down by a massive DDoS from a million+ strong botnet of cheap Android-based tat and we are all siiting in our re-education camps wondering "WTF just happened?" you can thank Google and Facebook for selling us out for an advertising dollar, not because your kid watches short video clips on TikTok.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a joke!

      I like the detail you get into on the goog apps, very true.

      There is more to Huawei equipment than any government wants to publicly acknowledge.

      But if you go looking, you will find it, and yes is sounds ridicules,, at first.

  21. Someone Else Silver badge

    "Uhh, dat's a nice app ya got dere. Shame if sumpin' was to happen to it...."

    So tRump is now into extorting "street tax"? How quaint.

    ..and totally predictable.

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