The pushback against China’s aggressive moves against its neighbors seems to be gathering steam with countries like the US looking at economic measures to persuade Beijing to rethink its steps. On Monday, a week after India banned 59 Chinese apps, including the popular short-form video platform TikTok, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted that the US may also consider a similar move. In an interview with Fox News late on Monday, Pompeo said he and President Donald Trump were taking a serious look at the matter.
“We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time,” said Pompeo, who had last week hailed India’s move saying that the Chinese apps could serve as appendages of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state. India’s “clean app approach will boost India’s sovereignty and boost integrity and national security,” Pompeo had said.
US lawmakers have in the past expressed concerns about Chinese apps — especially TikTok’s handling of user data — as well as Chinese laws that require domestic companies to cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. The US has more than 30 million active users of TikTok or about 5% of the app’s global audience, according to news reports. It was also the top non-game app downloaded in the US in February 2019.