China accuses US of 'political manipulation' over TikTok, WeChat’s ban

China's foreign ministry on Friday accused the US of "political manipulation" and said that it firmly opposes the executive orders announced by the President Donald Trump for TikTok, WeChat’s ban. China will defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing.

Trump issued executive orders on Thursday banning any US transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent, owner of the WeChat app, starting in 45 days. The orders come as the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from US digital networks and called the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok and messenger app WeChat "significant threats".

The TikTok app may be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, and the United States "must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security", Trump said in one order.

In the other, Trump said WeChat "automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information".

The order would effectively ban WeChat in the US in 45 days by barring "to the extent permitted under applicable law, any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the US, with Tencent Holdings Ltd".

TikTok said it was "shocked" by Trump's executive order to ban the video-sharing app, and that it could go to US courts to ensure it was treated fairly.

Trump said this week he would support the sale of TikTok's US operations to Microsoft Corp if the US government got a “substantial portion” of the sales price but warned he will ban the service in the United States on 15 September.

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