Republican Rep takes the gloves OFF, delivers TikTok CEO a brutal takedown: ‘I expect you’ll say anything…’

The GOP chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) threw down with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew Thursday, excoriating him and the Chinese company with the apparent blessing of the ranking Democrat Frank Pallone (D-NJ) who did not object.

(Video Credit: C-SPAN3)

TikTok is taking a lot of heat from Republicans and the US government for allegedly violating the privacy of American citizens, manipulating young people, promoting harm, spying on journalists, propaganda, and much more. McMorris Rodgers stated that the grilling of Chew was long overdue.

The House and Senate have been investigating and pursuing TikTok and its parent company ByteDance for some time and have repeatedly attempted to get Chew to come before them for questioning.

“We do not trust TikTok will ever embrace American values, values for freedom, human rights, and innovation,” McMorris Rodgers told Chew. “TikTok has repeatedly chosen the path for more control, more surveillance, and more manipulation. Your platform should be banned.”

“Mr. Chew, you are here because the American people need the truth about the threat TikTok poses to our national and personal security. TikTok collects nearly every data point imaginable from people’s location to what they type and copy, who they talk to, biometric data, and more,” Rodgers remarked in her opening statement. “Even if they’ve never been on TikTok, your trackers are embedded in sites across the web. TikTok, surveils us all. And the Chinese Communist Party is able to use this as a tool to manipulate America as a whole.”

She was just getting warmed up. It was a brutal takedown.

“I expect today you’ll say anything to avoid this outcome. Like you’re 100% responsible for what TikTok does. That you suddenly endorse a national data privacy standard. That Project Texas is more than a marketing scheme. That TikTok doesn’t harm our innocent children. Or that your ties to the Chinese Communist Party through ByteDance is just a myth,” McMorris Rodgers accused.

“We aren’t buying it,” she railed. “In fact, when you celebrate the 150 million American users on TikTok, it emphasizes the urgency for Congress to act. That is 150 million Americans that CCP can collect sensitive information on and control what we ultimately see here and believe.”

“TikTok has repeatedly been caught in the lie that it does not answer to the CCP through ByteDance,” McMorris Rodgers admonished. “Today, the CCP’s laws require Chinese companies like ByteDance to spy on their behalf. That means any Chinese company must grant the CCP access and manipulation capabilities as a design feature.”

She pointed out that ByteDance is under investigation by the DOJ for allegedly surveilling American journalists. The chairwoman claimed that many TikTok employees still report directly to Beijing and that internal recordings “reveal there is a backdoor for China to access user data across the platform.”

The chairwoman asserted that Chew’s app is a danger to children, that it promotes “death and despair” to the young people of America, “erases events and people” such as the plight of the Uyghurs, and that they intend to see TikTok banned. McMorris Rodgers assured him that the US will be ready to retaliate for the “next” technological attack from China.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) also called out Chew for disingenuously claiming he has seen “no evidence” that the Chinese government can access TikTok’s data.

(Video Credit: C-SPAN3)

She demanded proof that the claims he made in his opening statement of separation between TikTok and the Chinese state were valid, “How do you convince the Congress of the United States that there can be a clean break? Why would the Chinese government sidestep their national law, including Article 7, Article 10, in terms of user data?”

“Congresswoman, thank you for the question. I’m glad you asked this. As I said in the opening statement, our plan is to move American data to be stored on American soil,” Chew responded.

“I understand that. But you’re sidestepping or I haven’t read anything in terms of TikTok, how you can actually say and you spoke in your opening statement about a firewall relative to the data. But the Chinese government has that data,” Eshoo pointed out.

“Well, how can you promise that that will move into the United States of America and be protected here?” the Democrat asked him.

“Congresswoman, I have seen no evidence that the Chinese government has access to that data. They have never asked us. We have not provided,” Chew shot back.

Eshoo wasn’t done and she let Chew know it.

“I find that actually preposterous,” Eshoo asserted.

“I have looked and I have seen no evidence of this happening. And in order to assure everybody here and all our users, our commitment is to move that data into the United States, to be stored on American soil by an American company overseen by American personnel. So the risk will be similar to any government going to an American company asking for data,” Chew insisted.

“Well, I’m one that doesn’t believe that there is really a private sector in China,” Eshoo clapped back.

It should be noted that not all Democrats want TikTok banned. In fact, a number of progressives are defending the company and want it left alone which is hard to understand given its blatant ties to communist China.

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