Chinese state media branded the US a “rogue country” late Monday because of Washington’s approach to the popular, but controversial app TikTok, saying that a forced sale would amount to “an open robbery.”
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Chinese state mouthpiece Global Times, tweeted a screen grab of a news headline detailing President Trump’s stance regarding a potential sale of TikTok to Microsoft.
“The world is watching and God is watching that how President Trump is turning the once great America into a rogue country,” he tweeted.
The president on Monday said he wanted to see the Beijing-based app owned by “a very American company,” and said TikTok would be “out of business in the United States” by September 15 if it did not reach a deal for a sale.
The US government should receive a cut from any sale because he made it “possible for this deal to happen” and TikTok doesn’t “have any rights unless we give it to them,” Trump said.
Xijin’s newspaper then published a story with a headline that said a potential TikTok ban in the United States would highlight the country’s “cowardice.”
TikTok has been the subject of escalating scrutiny from US public officials over concerns the Chinese government could force ByteDance to give up valuable user information.
Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have suggested the app pipes data to the Chinese Communist Party. Tiktok denies it.
Also on Tuesday, the founder and CEO of TikTok parent company ByteDance said in an internal email to employees that the goal of the US government was not to have an American company own TikTok, but to ban it entirely.
Zhang Yiming said that some people had misconceptions about the situation, according to the letter, which was reported by Chinese media and later confirmed by Reuters. Zhang has been criticized in China after news broke that he was in talks to sell at least a portion of his company’s crown jewel to Microsoft.