The Asian Voice

Move against TikTok lays bare Washington's working style: China Daily columnist

In the article, the writer says that the US' smash and grab of foreign companies affects the global supply and value chains.

The US' smash and grab of foreign companies will ultimately take a toll on the US economy. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - On Oct 8, the US administration began the appeals process of a recent federal court ruling suspending the administration's ban on downloads of short-video sharing app TikTok, saying it would provide an opening statement before Oct 16 to which TikTok has to reply by Nov 6, and it would respond to TikTok's reply by Nov 12.

In the order issued on Sept 27 hours before the download ban was to take effect, Judge Carl Nichols of the US district court for the District of Columbia, Washington, only imposed preliminary injunction on the TikTok download ban.

The ruling did not extend to the restrictions on technological and business arrangements that are necessary for the proper functioning of TikTok from Nov 12.

Just like some of its previous moves, the US Commerce Department had a lot of time to impose the ban on the app - on grounds of "national security" - but it issued the order at such a time when TikTok had less than one day to respond.

And conveniently, the US administration has said it would respond to TikTok's reply by Nov 12, the day when the other ban on the use of the app is to come into effect, leaving the company no time to fight its case if the administration wins the retrial.

Besides, the court's ruling late last month prompted the administration to put "maximum pressure" on the Chinese company in a bid to force it to enter into a partnership with Oracle and/or Walmart.

It has been deemed unfair by even many third parties. Because it would give the US companies not only considerable stakes in a proposed joint venture, but also overwhelming power to control the future executive board.

More importantly the US companies would get access to TikTok's original source codes and algorithms.

That is "Americanisation" of a Chinese company that owns innovative technologies by force, which the Chinese government will not tolerate.

The US is using its high-tech prowess and muscle power to continue its technological and commercial dominance in the world market.

It is the technological success of companies such as ByteDance (owner of TikTok), Huawei and the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation that has prompted the US administration to either launch direct attacks against them or encourage US companies to acquire their US business.

This should be a warning to countries that have been silent onlookers to the US' thuggery that their companies could meet the same fate.

Late last month about 3,500 US companies sued the US administration for illegally imposing punitive tariffs on imports from China.

Which makes it clear that the administration has been collecting the additional tariffs from US companies and US consumers, the very parties it claims to be serving.

As the claims of the plaintiffs indicate, the "unbounded and unlimited trade war" the US administration started against China is not only self-harming, but also a blatant abuse of its power.

The US' smash and grab of foreign companies, with Alston of France being another case in point, will ultimately take a toll on the US economy, as it undermines not only the business environment in the country, but also affects the global supply and value chains.

When the foundation of the world order becomes weak, those sitting on top will likely be the first to fall.

The US constantly projects itself as the champion of fair competition and market economy, yet its move against TikTok, once again, shows it is a ruthless predator on the constant lookout for prey.

The US' moves threaten to reverse the process of economic globalisation and the international division of labour because, taking a leaf out of the US book of trickery, more and more countries are trying to allure their companies back home from China, or shift operations to a third country.

The fact that major economies are retracting into their shells fearing the US is out to seize their lifeline industries is a disturbing trend.

While the world faces many common challenges that call for all countries to join hands to overcome, it is absurd that, thanks to one country's actions, they are being compelled to re-dig their foxholes to seek shelter and security to not only fight alone, but unfortunately fight against one another.

The author is a writer with China Daily. China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media organisations.

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