A senior TikTok executive was asked some hard questions about China’s human rights record in a recent interview, and his response was quite telling and concerning.
On Tuesday, Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy, was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, who asked him about China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minorities.
Tapper asked, “Do you acknowledge that the Chinese government has these Uyghurs and others in concentration camps?” Beckerman evaded the question, responding, “That’s not something that I focus on.”
Later, when Tapper gave him another opportunity to answer the question, Beckerman again dodged and said, “I’m just not an expert on what’s happening in China. So it’s not an area that I’m focusing on.”
Beckerman also denied that TikTok censors posts about concentration camps in China, saying, “We do not censor content on behalf of any government.”
TikTok’s close ties to the Chinese government have been a massive cause for concern for American officials in recent years. Many fear that the popular social media app is harvesting Americans’ personal data and selling it to the Chinese Communist Party.
This concern led to an effort by then-President Donald Trump to ban the app in 2020. The move was shot down at the time, but in the years since, concerns about TikTok have only grown. This month, Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill banning the app.
What is interesting about this CNN interview is that Tapper did not focus on security concerns; he asked the moral question about dealing with a country that is guilty of egregious human rights abuses.
And Beckerman completely sidestepped and avoided the question, showing just how terrified he is of the Chinese government.
Businesses are eager to break into the emerging Chinese market. This means that they dare not speak out about China’s human rights record, as they are afraid of running afoul of the CCP and losing a valuable source of revenue.
One of the most egregious examples is Disney, which cooperated closely with the Chinese government on its live-action “Mulan” film in 2020, despite the outcry over the CCP’s human rights violations.
But dealing with China reaches another level when one works for a company that is owned and operated in part by the Chinese government. If Beckerman says the wrong thing, he could have his livelihood ruined as a result.
TikTok has become another tool that the Chinese government is using against the U.S. It poses a national security risk to our citizens, and it gives legitimacy to an authoritarian regime built on human rights abuses.
It is long past time that we banned it.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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