China appeals for fair treatment after latest TikTok bans


China is accusing the U.S. of spreading disinformation amid reports the Biden administration is calling for TikTok's Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the company. — AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

BEIJING: China appealed Friday to other governments to treat its companies fairly after Britain and New Zealand joined the United States in restricting use of TikTok due to fears the Chinese-owned short video service might be a security risk.

Governments are worried TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, might give browsing history or other data about users to China’s government or promote propaganda and disinformation.

"We call on the countries concerned to recognize the objective facts, effectively respect the market economy” and provide "a non-discriminatory environment" for all companies, said foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

TikTok is one focus of conflicts between China and other governments over technology and security that are disrupting processor chip, smartphone and other industries.

Legislators and employees in New Zealand’s Parliament will be prohibited from having TikTok ’s app on phones, the government said Friday. Britain announced a ban Thursday on TikTok on all government phones.

In February, the White House told federal agencies to delete TikTok from government-issued mobile devices within 30 days. Congress, the U.S. armed forces and more than half of American state governments prohibit use of the app by their employees.

India has banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including the WeChat message service, on security and privacy grounds.

The United States also has imposed restrictions on access by Chinese companies to processor chip and other technology on security and human rights grounds.

The Chinese government accused Washington of spreading false information about TikTok following a report by The Wall Street Journal that U.S. authorities were considering a ban if ByteDance doesn’t sell the company.

The ruling Communist Party blocks most internet users in China from seeing TikTok and thousands of social media and other websites. ByteDance operates a sister short-video service, Douyin, that can be seen in China. – AP

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