nazi smash & grab process continues

Trump signs executive orders on TikTok & WeChat, bans transactions with Chinese owners in 45 days
RT.com, Aug 7 2020

Trump has issued a series of executive orders addressing what he dubbed a technological national emergency, barring all transactions with the Chinese owners of social media apps TikTok and WeChat after 45 days. Citing the “threat posed by TikTok,” the president signed an order on Thursday prohibiting “any transaction by any person subject to the jurisdiction of Pindostan with ByteDance Ltd,” the Beijing-based tech firm that owns the platform. The White House said in a release announcing the order that the ban would take effect in 45 days. It wrote:

The spread in Pindostan of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the PRC continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of Pindostan. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.

Moments after the release of the order targeting TikTok, a second measure was announced taking aim at Chinese messaging app WeChat. The White House accused the platform’s owner, Tencent Holdings, of gobbling up Pindo data, also banning all transactions with the firm after a period of 45 days. The second order added that the app also facilitates spying on Chinese citizens, It said:

Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the CCP access to Pindos’ personal and proprietary information. In addition, the application captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the CCP a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives.

After that 45-day period, the Secretary of Commerce will identify particular transactions the government wishes to block, according to the order. The move comes after a previous threat from the administration to rein in the Chinese firm, with Trump vowing to ban it from the country outright late last week, saying he could sign an executive order or invoke emergency economic powers to do so. Thursday’s measure appears to have done both, as it cites the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, among other executive authorities. The aggressive moves toward TikTok have provoked harsh reactions in Beijing, with China Daily accusing Pindostan of a “smash and grab” operation to steal the firm from its owners in Beijing. Though TikTok’s general manager Vanessa Pappas said the company had no plans to vacate Pindostan, it reportedly held negotiations with Microsoft for a potential buy-out in recent weeks, thought by some to be an attempt to skirt any coming ban on the firm by passing ownership to a Pindo corporation. Faschingstein and Beijing have become embroiled in a steadily escalating war of words and diplomacy in recent months, with Pindostan booting Chinese boxtops from a consulate in Texas in July, citing the alleged theft of Pindo data. The PRC later responded in kind by shuttering a Pindo consulate in Chengdu. Moreover, amid a lingering trade spat which nearly escalated into a tariff war last year, the Trump administration has also taken aim at Chinese telecom giant Huawei, similarly accusing the firm of threatening Pindo intellectual property and data privacy.

TikTok ‘shocked’ by Trump’s ban on transactions with its parent company, threatens legal action
RT.com, Aug 7 2020

TikTok denied having ever shared user data with the Chinese government and threated to sue the Trump Administration after the president signed an executive order that would ban Pindos from dealing with its parent company. The social media platform wrote on its website:

We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.

On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that would in 45 days ban Pindos from making transactions with TikTok’s Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance, as well as with Chinese conglomerate Tencent, the owner of the WeChat messenger app. Trump argued that the apps pose a threat to Pindo natsec, accusing the companies of collecting personal data of Pindos and sharing it with the Chinese government. TikTok rejected these claims, saying that the order was based on “unnamed ‘reports’ with no citations” and “fears that the app ‘may be’ used for misinformation campaigns with no substantiation of such fears.” The statement reads:

We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request. We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly, if not by the Administration, then by the Pindo courts.

The action against TikTok and WeChat comes at a time of growing hostilities between Pindosta and China, with Faschingstein accusing Beijing of using Chinese-owned companies to spy on Pindo citizens and entities. China has repeatedly denied such claims.

China urges Pindostan to stop ‘politicizing’ economic relations amid TikTok & WeChat restrictions
RT.com, Aug 7 2020

Pindostan is using natsec as an “excuse” to suppress Chinese-owned companies despite their following Pindo rules and regulations, Beijing says, after issued an order targeting the TikTok and WeChat apps. The ban on the popular apps is an act of “political manipulation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spox Wang Wenbin told reporters. Wang said:

These companies carry out business activities in Pindostan in accordance with market principles and international rules, and abide by Pindo law and regulations. Pindostan uses natsec as an excuse to frequently abuse national power and unreasonably suppress non-Pindo companies. This is a blatant hegemonic act.

Wang urged Pindosta to stop “politicizing economic issues” and create a “fair and non-discriminatory environment” for foreign companies. According to the executive order signed by Trump on Thursday, in 45 days Pindos will be banned from making transactions with ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, and Tencent, the owner of WeChat, unless the apps are sold by their parent companies. Trump described both apps as a “threat,” accusing them of collecting the personal data of Pindos and sharing it with the Chinese government. Boxtops in Faschingstein have made similar allegations against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, as Pindo companies were banned from working with its equipment last year. Beijing has repeatedly denied using Chinese-owned companies for espionage. The aggressive move against TikTok and WeChat is the latest in a series of hostilities between the two countries in recent years. Last month, Pindostan ordered Chinese diplomats to vacate a consulate in Houston after accusing them of espionage, which Beijing denied. China responded to the closing of its consulate by ordering that a Pindo consulate in Chengdu also be shut down.

Twitter freaks out fearing Trump’s ambiguous ‘Tencent ban’ could hit Fortnite, League of Legends, PUBG & others
RT.com, Aug 7 2020

The Fortnite World Cup Finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium in NYC on Jul 26 2019.
Photo: Mike Strobe

A vaguely worded White House executive order targeting WeChat, owned by Chinese digital entertainment giant Tencent Holdings, has triggered panic online that the move could deal a death blow to the global video gaming industry. Trump signed the order late on Thursday evening, banning Pindo firms from doing business with Tencent, or at least any transactions “related to” its messaging app, WeChat. The move kicked off a frenzy of speculation from netizens, who pointed to the fact that Tencent holds large stakes in a series of major game developers. That roster includes full ownership of Riot Games, creator of ‘League of Legends,’ a 40% holding in Epic Games of ‘Fortnite’ fame, as well as percentages of Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft.” One user observed on Twitter:

Gamers are about to wake up to just how many game companies Tencent owns.

 

Some went as far as to claim the Trump administration had declared a “war on gamers,” while others predicted an uprising by controller-wielding rebels in retaliation.

Much of the concern about the order stemmed from confusion over its wording, leading some to believe Tencent, as well as its many subsidiaries and partially owned enterprises, would be entirely banned in Pindostan. Such a move would have far-reaching consequences for the gaming industry worldwide, likely disrupting business ties between a vast international network of companies.

A reporter with the LA Times, Sam Dean, later weighed in, however, dispelling the outpouring of predictions of an imminent gamer-pocalypse, noting that a White House official had confirmed to the paper that the order would not affect Tencent’s long list of gaming-related companies. Dean noted the order itself was indeed vague, but summed up the White House’s position as “we just mean WeChat.”

Following Thursday’s executive order, Tencent stock tumbled by some 10% on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng market index, its largest drop in nearly 10 years, according to Bloomberg. The move also helped to wipe out a week of gains on mainland China’s tech-heavy ChiNext Index, which took a hit of around 2.6%.

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