'Rogue' Trump Admin, Microsoft Are 'Looting' TikTok: China Media

Chinese state media has called President Donald Trump's administration as a "rogue" government over its campaign against video app TikTok, which the U.S. has claimed represents a security risk to American users.

Trump threatened to ban the Chinese app on Friday, and two days later Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration would "take action" on the matter.

Since his warning, U.S. tech giant Microsoft has said it will try to buy the app from Chinese start-up ByteDance, which might help TikTok avoid any Trump administration ban. Though Trump dismissed the proposed sale Friday, the administration appears to have pivoted to supporting it.

Chinese state media has defended ByteDance and condemned American efforts to block TikTok, which has already been banned in India following border tensions between the Asian neighbors in June.

Global Times—owned by the People's Daily newspaper which is the official publication of the ruling Chinese Communist Party—said in an editorial published Sunday that the Trump administration was acting in a "barbaric manner," framing the dispute as another part of Washington, D.C.'s effort to maintain American supremacy regardless of the cost.

"This is the barbaric act of a rogue government, and yet another dark scene in Washington's struggle for U.S. supremacy," Global Times wrote. "The idea of hegemony as national security enforced beyond the laws and commercial rules is the nature of the hunt against TikTok that we see today."

"In the most barbaric way, the U.S. is trying to solidify a high-tech world order in which it is the absolute center," the newspaper—which is often used to air the more nationalistic sentiment within the CCP—wrote.

"Whether it ends up 'killing' TikTok or forcibly taking the child out of ByteDance's arms, it is one of the ugliest scenes of the 21st century in the high-tech competition."

Microsoft boss Satya Nadella said in a blog post that the firm "fully appreciates the importance of addressing the president's concerns" and is "committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury."

Microsoft said it would "ensure that all private data of TikTok's American users is transferred to and remains in the United States." Pompeo has previously accused Chinese firms of acting as "Trojan horses" for the CCP to collect Americans' data.

TikTok has denied making Americans' data available to the CCP. This weekend, Vanessa Pappas—the general manager for TikTok U.S.—thanked users for their support in a video message and declared: "We're not planning on going anywhere."

Reuters reported Monday that Trump will give Microsoft 45 days to secure a deal to buy TikTok, citing three people familiar with the matter. Global Times said White House pressure was also putting ByteDance at an unfair disadvantage and driving down TikTok's potential sale price.

"This is indeed the hunting and looting of TikTok by the U.S. government in conjunction with U.S. high-tech companies," Global Times wrote.

TikTok has joined telecommunications giant Huawei on the U.S. list of Chinese targets. The Trump administration is pushing for technological decoupling with Beijing amid a collapse in relations between the two giant economies. The coronavirus pandemic has also exacerbated existing tensions between the two competitors. The White House is also pushing its allies elsewhere to do the same.

"National security, in its narrow sense, is certainly not the most important consideration for the U.S.," Global Times claimed.

"The real issue that truly concerns Washington is the ability of Huawei and TikTok to challenge the high-tech hegemony of the U.S. If this is also national security, then U.S. national security is synonymous with hegemony."

China Daily—owned by the CCP's propaganda department—also condemned the U.S. action on Sunday. In an editorial, the newspaper said the White House has "a penchant for arbitrarily demonstrating its own authority."

TikTok, China, Donald Trump, Microsoft, state media
This file photo shows a smartphone screen with social media apps including TikTok on May 11, 2020 in Bochum, Germany. Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images/Getty