TikTok CEO Xu Qiu testifies Thursday before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday morning in Washington, in an effort to assuage congressional concerns about national security.
The TikTok chief is seeking to convince lawmakers that the app, which has 150 million users in the United States alone, does not pose a threat to Americans or share data with the Chinese government.
With this testimony in particular, it is clear that Chiu is facing an absurd battle amid the odds that key lawmakers on the commission have already made up their minds.
For its part, the Chinese government warned against selling TikTok, and said the move would undermine foreign investor confidence in the United States.
Beijing said, “We will firmly oppose any US move to force TikTok owners to sell it.”
Republican aides on the committee told reporters earlier this week that Republican committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers wants a ban on TikTok in America.
A Republican aide suggested that Xu would not be able to convince the committee that TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, could protect Americans’ data from the Chinese Communist Party in the absence of a ban or forced sale.
James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told POLITICO that the hearing will be “fiery, unless Qiu makes a concession.”
“So far, TikTok has been unwilling to bend to the whims of lawmakers, and I don’t feel like it’s prepared to do so at the hearing,” Lewis added.
And the CEO of TikTok announced that he wanted to overcome what he called a “lack of trust” crisis with lawmakers. However, major supporters of legislation that limits the influence of TikTok in the United States stress the need for TikTok to agree to all the demands of lawmakers.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Congressional Intelligence Committee, commented: “While I appreciate Mr. Chiu’s willingness to answer questions before Congress, TikTok’s lack of transparency, repeated opacities, and misrepresentations of facts have severely undermined the credibility of any statements by company employees.”
And earlier this month, Warner introduced the Restriction Bill, which would give the federal government the power to restrict and potentially block the app.
The House foreign affairs chief, Republican Representative Michael McCaul, who helped enforce a bill that could ban TikTok from mobile devices in America, confirmed that the only solution he sees is “byteDance’s complete withdrawal from its management of TikTok, and control of the app.” .
And if a ban on TikTok is imposed, “The politician in me believes you will literally lose every voter under 35 forever,” says Gina Raymond, Secretary of Commerce in the US President Joe Biden’s administration.