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China May Walk Away From Selling TikTok To A U.S. Company, Raising Even More National Security Concerns

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The Trump administration’s push to ban the Chinese owned video creation application TikTok has been a major problem for the Chinese Communist Party, which is accused of using the app for nefarious purposes to spy on its users.

The app has already been banned by the Pentagon for its potential to collect troves of information on its users.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in July during a presser that data is from the application is sent to China. He stated during a British media interview, that if TikTok is banned, the data will not end “up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” which he characterized as an “evil empire.”

TikTok has denied the accusations of data mishandling but U.S. intelligence officials say that the company, owned by the Chinese government is using the popular application to infiltrate American networks, as well as collect information on individuals and families.

Last month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order giving the app’s parent company ByteDance 45 days to sell to a U.S. company or to suffer a full ban. That day is soon approaching.

Microsoft and Oracle have reportedly been in separate talks to purchase the app. However, China may walk away from any sale, according to Chinese state-owned news outlets.

China expert Gordon Chang suggested that China will ultimately “not allow” the sale to go through because it would mean exposing “how Beijing used the app to foment violent protest in America.”

Donald Trump Jr. questioned the app’s claims that TikTok is not controlled by the Chinese government. “Out of curiosity, if the Chinese government doesn’t control TikTok how is it that they can block the sale? Oh that’s right they’re lying as usual. Imagine an American company trying to pull of in China what TikTok/China is doing in America? They wouldn’t allow it for a second,” he said.

Senator Josh Hawley sounded off on TikTok’s nefarious ties to China, saying that the app’s own board members are also members of the Chinese Communist Party. Moreover, Hawley added, Beijing ‘requires by law’ the app to share its user data.

“Any sale, deal, or ‘tech partnership’ that fails to remove all links to #China is unacceptable,” he said.

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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