TikTok CEO can’t escape xenophobia in Congress

today’s child safety hearing Basically an unusually concentrated event. The Senate Judiciary Committee summoned the CEOs of X, Meta, Snap, TikTok and Discord and grilled them for four hours about the potential dangers their services pose to children. Many lawmakers emphasized the emotional impact, playing to an audience of families whose children have been targeted by predators or otherwise harmed online.

But midway through the hearing, it was derailed by a predictable topic: TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and a meeting ostensibly about keeping kids safe became mired in a now familiar attempts Leave it to TikTok executive Longevity Zizhou to answer questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the day.

While attempts to ban TikTok last year mostly failed, there are real concerns about its data storage policies and the impact of the Chinese government’s control over it. Some lawmakers have spoken out about these issues and asked Chew to provide a solution. Texas Project Update(TikTok is still working on the issue.) But the questions also strayed into attempts to simply highlight TikTok’s un-American origins, culminating in Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) being continually aggressive about his citizenship to put pressure on Chew – who, as we all know, is Singaporean.

“You often say you live in Singapore,” Cotton said, before demanding to know where Zhou’s passport was from (apparently Singapore) and whether he had applied for Chinese or U.S. citizenship (no, Zhou said). “Have you?” “Have you ever been a member of the Chinese Communist Party?” Then he asked suddenly, as if hoping to catch Zhou off guard. Zhou’s answer was more of boredom than shock. “Senator! I’m Singaporean!” he reiterated. No. ” (Singapore is not part of China.)

Washington postDrew Harwell Describes Cotton’s line of questioning Zhou’s relationship with China was discussed at length during his speech. appear before congress Last year, Cotton didn’t explicitly say how this related to child safety. It is not even necessary to prove that China may have had undue influence on TikTok.Apple, for example, has withstood years of criticism about its relationship Question the Chinese government; no sane person ever thought this hinged on Tim Cook being a secret communist. Instead, this line of questioning seemed designed solely to exploit Zhou’s status as a foreigner—even if it had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

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