Sep 17, 2020
Senator Rubio Urges Trump To Scrap Tiktok-Oracle Deal If Bytedance Ties Remain
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Reuters September 16, 2020 0 Comments
Marco Rubio and five other Republican senators called on the Trump administration to reject a proposed deal for Oracle to become a “trusted technology provider” for popular social media platform TikTok’s U.S. operations if ties to Chinese owner Bytedance remain.
Marco Rubio, the first senator to call on the administration to investigate TikTok over censorship concerns, said in the letter to President Donald Trump that “serious questions” remained about Oracle’s role, the technology it would provide to Bytedance, and the future of the application’s algorithm.
“We remain opposed to any deal that would allow China-based or controlled entities to retain, control or modify the code or algorithms that operate any U.S.-based version of TikTok,” Rubio wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.
“We are heartened that this deal still requires government approval, and if reports indicating this proposed deal will retain links to ByteDance or other Chinese-controlled entities, we strongly urge the administration to reject such a proposal on national security grounds,” he added.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter, also signed by Senators Thom Tillis, Rick Scott, John Cornyn, Roger Wicker and Dan Sullivan, is part of a growing chorus of lawmakers raising questions about the deal.
On Monday, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who heads a national security panel reviewing the proposal, calling for the deal to be scuttled, if it does not allow for the “full emancipation of TikTok software from potential Chinese Communist Part control.”
It is unclear what President Trump will do. White House adviser Jared Kushner on Tuesday said the White House is reviewing Oracle’s bid and a Senior Administration official said a decision had not yet been made.
Trump had previously made clear he sought a full-scale sale of the app to an American technology company, amid concerns among national security officials that Bytedance could provide American user data to the Chinese government. But Trump may not want to alienate 100 million-odd American TikTok users weeks before a hotly-contested presidential election.
Trump has also said he is a fan of Oracle’s co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison, one of few tech executives to openly support the Republican President.
Meanwhile, China has updated its export control rules to give it a say over the transfer of technology, such as TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, to a foreign buyer. Chinese officials have said ByteDance should not be coerced by the United States into a deal.
Oracle announced on Monday it was part of a proposal submitted by Bytedance to the U.S. Treasury Department to serve as “trusted technology provider,” to Bytedance, providing no further details on the terms of the deal.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)
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China's Xi Says 'Happiness' in Xinjiang on the Rise, Will Keep Teaching 'Correct' Outlook
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping said levels of happiness among all ethnic groups in the western region of Xinjiang are rising and that China plans to keep teaching its residents a "correct" outlook on China, Xinhua news agency reported late on Saturday.
China has come under scrutiny over its treatment of Uighur Muslims and claims of alleged forced-labour abuses in Xinjiang, where the United Nations cites credible reports as saying one million Muslims held in camps have been put to work.
China has repeatedly denied mistreating Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centres that are needed to tackle extremism, accusing what it calls anti-China forces of smearing its Xinjiang policy.
"The sense of gain, happiness, and security among the people of all ethnic groups (in Xinjiang) has continued to increase," Xi told a ruling Communist Party conference on Xinjiang held on Friday and Saturday, Xinhua said.
Xi said it was necessary to educate Xinjiang's population on an understanding of the Chinese nation and guide "all ethnic groups on establishing a correct perspective on the country, history and nationality".
"Practice has shown that the party's strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct” and it should be a long-term approach, he added.
In July, Washington imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. government to target human rights violators by freezing any U.S. assets, banning U.S. travel and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.
(Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Tony Munroe and Nick Macfie)
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