The Biden administration's options regarding TikTok are becoming more limited as Beijing pushes back against their efforts. The administration had previously requested that the app's Chinese owners sell it or face potential banning in the United States, but this plan has encountered a major obstacle with Beijing's recent announcement that it would oppose any such sale.
President Joe Biden's options now include attempting to ban the app, which would be challenging without congressional assistance, or proceeding with a sale regardless, effectively daring Beijing to follow through on its opposition. "He has to make a choice: Does he want to have a confrontation with China over TikTok?" said James A. Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Commerce Ministry stated at a news conference on Thursday that they would "firmly oppose" any sale of the app, as it would undermine investor confidence from various countries, including China, to invest in the United States. This statement came shortly before TikTok's CEO, Shou Chew, testified in front of Congress for the first time, facing tough questions from lawmakers of both parties about China's ties to the company, data privacy, and the app's impact on children. Many lawmakers cited the Chinese statement as evidence that the app could be subject to Beijing's influence.