Marco Rubio urges Biden to ban TikTok after China takes stake in owner’s subsidiary

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Sen. Marco Rubio wants the Biden administration to ban TikTok in the US after the Chinese government took a board seat and partial ownership in a key subsidiary of ByteDance, the company behind the wildly popular video sharing app. 

News emerged this week that a Chinese government entity now controls a 1 percent stake and a board seat in Beijing ByteDance Technology, an entity that oversees Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — as well as a news aggregator with hundreds of millions of users. 

Beijing Bytedance is separate from ByteDance proper, the Cayman Islands-based entity which controls TikTok, a company spokesperson told The Post on Tuesday. 

But Rubio, a Republican from Florida, ignored the company’s explanation in a scathing statement late Tuesday in which he called on President Joe Biden to revive a Trump-era effort to ban TikTok from the US. 

“The Biden administration can no longer pretend that TikTok is not beholden to the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio said. “Beijing’s aggressiveness makes clear that the regime sees TikTok as an extension of the party-state, and the US needs to treat it that way.”

Former President Donald Trump sought to ban TikTok in the US last year.
REUTERS

Rubio added that the US should “establish a framework of standards that must be met before a high-risk, foreign-based app is allowed to operate on American telecommunications networks and devices.” 

He also pointed to India, which banned TikTok last year amid border clashes with China, as an example that the US should follow. 

Earlier this year, Biden ordered the Commerce Department to conduct a review of security concerns posed by TikTok and other apps even as he withdrew a set of Trump-era executive orders seeking to ban TikTok that had been blocked by courts. 

The TikTok logo next to the ByteDance logo
ByteDance says its business entity that is partially owned by the Chinese government is separate from the one that controls TikTok.
Alamy Stock Photo

Rubio’s office, the White House and ByteDance did not immediately reply to requests for comment. 

China’s pugnacious foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian slammed Rubio during a Wednesday press conference. 

“The US politician you mentioned has been making anti-China remarks tirelessly for his own interests in disregard of facts, and is doomed to end up in the dustbin of history,” said Lijian.

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