Joe Biden has been urged to take action against China’s persistent attempts to breach US security after a spy balloon was shot down over the weekend. Matt Gaetz urged the President to “blow up TikTok” as his next step to signal to Beijing that the United States will fiercely shut down any further attempts to spy on the nation. Biden has faced criticism for delaying the shooting of the spy balloon despite military officials insisting POTUS had wanted the aircraft to be removed as early as last Wednesday.
Gaetz’s demands to target the social media platform TikTok comes after months of speculation about the extent of the app’s ability to monitor its users.
The platform itself last year admitted four of its staff had been fired after they had been found to have accessed the data of journalists in what parent company ByteDance called attempts to track down potential leaks’ sources.
The company had previously issued categorical denials after repeated accusations that the platform was being used by the Chinese Government to spy on international users, which include prominent figures as well as newspapers.
And former presidential candidate Mitt Romney also picked up on the link between the social media platform and China’s growing hostility.
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Sen Romney wrote on Twitter: “A big Chinese balloon in the sky and millions of Chinese TikTok balloons on our phones. Let’s shut them all down.”
Republicans have been criticizing President Biden for his reaction to the Chinese spy balloon and suggested Beijing is now expanding its surveillance tools.
Rep. Mike Flood said: “The CCP continues to expand its surveillance operations beyond its borders. First, it was TikTok and Huawei. Now, it’s floating balloons to spy on Americans in full view.
“The Biden Administration is projecting weakness by dragging its feet to stop their plans. America is at a crossroads and it’s time to draw a line in the sand.
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China on Monday accused Washington of indiscriminate use of force with its decision to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon Saturday, saying that it had “seriously impacted and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing Sino-US relations.”
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng lodged a formal complaint with the US Embassy on Sunday over the “US attack on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by military force.”
Xie said: “However, the United States turned a deaf ear and insisted on indiscriminate use of force against the civilian airship that was about to leave the United States airspace, obviously overreacted and seriously violated the spirit of international law and international practice.”
He insisted that China would “resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely safeguard China’s interests and dignity and reserve the right to make further necessary responses.”