Chinese Embassy Reportedly Lobbied Directly Against TikTok Bill On Capitol Hill

The Chinese Embassy has held closed-door meetings with congressional staff to lobby against a bill that would force a sale or ban of TikTok, according to Politico.

Chinese Embassy officials reportedly reached out to set up the meetings shortly after the House voted decisively in favor of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, but did not specifically mention TikTok when they initially made contact, according to Politico, which granted several congressional staffers anonymity to speak freely. In one phone call placed to Capitol Hill staffers, an embassy official reportedly stated that the Chinese ambassador wanted to discuss the legislation.

The legislation, which would force TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform or otherwise see the popular social media app banned in the U.S. ,is stalling in the Senate after passing the House by a decisive margin in March.

TikTok has repeatedly denied that it is linked with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but a former senior ByteDance employee has alleged that CCP members inside the company have “superuser” credentials and a “backdoor channel” to access American users’ data, while the app often promotes content for users that is aligned with the CCP’s agenda, according to a recent study by Network Contagion Research Institute and Rutgers University.

“For once, Chinese diplomats have done America a favor,” Michael Sobolik, a senior fellow for the American Foreign Policy Council who specializes in Indo-Pacific studies, told Politico. “By lobbying congressional staff to protect TikTok’s relationship with ByteDance, [People’s Republic of China] officials are revealing how valuable TikTok is to the Chinese Communist Party. Losing control of the app would neuter Beijing’s most potent weapon against Americans.” (Read more from “Chinese Embassy Reportedly Lobbied Directly Against TikTok Bill On Capitol Hill” HERE)