China on Friday firmly opposed United States President Donald Trump’s executive orders banning American transactions with owners of messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok, Reuters reported. This came a day after the Trump administration announced sweeping restrictions on the two popular Chinese social media platforms.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that Beijing will defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses and warned that the US would have to “bear the consequences” of its actions. “The US is using national security as an excuse and using state power to oppress non-American businesses,” Wang told reporters at a daily press briefing. “That’s just a hegemonic practice. China is firmly opposed to that.”
The spokesperson also said that US was sacrificing the interests of users and companies to engage in political manipulation and oppression. “It [US] will only lose its moral high ground with a damaged image and a deficit of trust,” he added.
The two executive orders, released late on Thursday, cited national security concerns to bar any transactions with WeChat or TikTok by any person or involving any property subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The order will come into effect after 45 days.
Meanwhile, TikTok said it was “shocked” by Trump’s executive order and that it was issued without any due process. The company said it would “pursue all remedies available” to “ensure the rule of law is not discarded”.
WeChat’s owner, Tencent, said: “We are reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding.”
Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg told his employees that the plan to ban TikTok would set a “really bad long-term precedent” and that he was “really worried” about it.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased tensions between Washington and Beijing and their relations have reached their lowest point in years. Trump has consistently pointed to Chinese culpability in failing to contain the outbreak in its early stages and accused Beijing of not being transparent about it. China’s military buildup in the South China Sea, its treatment of Uighur Muslims, its decision to enact a new national security law for Hong Kong and massive trade surpluses has also contributed to the strained ties.