The US government will go after more Chinese-made apps following earlier crackdowns on TikTok and WeChat, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said, as short video sensation TikTok heads toward a forced sale of its US operations.
“It is critical that this country not use apps that are made in China, or that can take our data and go to servers in China,” Navarro said on Monday in an interview with Fox Business, adding that this data will be used to “surveil, monitor and track” Americans.
“And that’s really the policy position underlying why we have gone after TikTok and WeChat, and there will be others because China … is basically going out around the world trying to acquire technology and influence.”
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
Amid an escalating trade and tech stand-off between Beijing and Washington, US President Donald Trump issued executive orders last month banning unspecified transactions with TikTok-owner ByteDance and WeChat’s parent company Tencent Holdings.
Trump issued a separate order the same month for ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations within 90 days or risk being blocked completely, while China has countered with new restrictions on tech exports which could grant Beijing a say in any overseas sale of TikTok. Microsoft, Walmart and Oracle are among the US companies said to be in talks to acquire the viral short video app.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticised recent US actions in a statement on Monday, saying that they were “tricks of economic bullying and political manipulation that the US played on non-American companies”.
Navarro said in the interview on Monday that Washington wanted to “create a Great Firewall, ironically, between us and China with respect to any data transfer”.
The Great Firewall is a term commonly used to refer to Beijing’s sophisticated censorship system, which locks out some of the world’s most popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter from most of China’s online population.
Last month, Trump also confirmed that the White House was considering banning more mainland Chinese companies. “We’re looking at other things. Yes, we are,” he had said at a press conference, in response to a question about whether his administration was looking at banning any other China-owned companies in the US.
More from South China Morning Post:
- China’s revised tech export controls could give Beijing a say in TikTok sale
- ByteDance tells TikTok to draw up US shutdown contingencies as Donald Trump’s ban on Chinese app looms
- TikTok sues Donald Trump and US government over threatened ban
- Southeast Asia eyes US call for TikTok, WeChat bans with caution
- TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quits amid US pressure on ByteDance to sell the short video service
This article White House will crack down on more Chinese apps after TikTok, WeChat, Trump adviser Navarro says first appeared on South China Morning Post