TikTok's logo on a phone with Wallmart's logo in the background. Wallmart joined Microsoft to bid for the US operation of the videosharing application. Photo Illustration: AFP/Debarchan Chatterjee/NurPhoto

HONG KONG – Chinese state media stepped up their propaganda this week in denouncing a contentious deal for Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, one that will reportedly allow US giants Oracle and Walmart to take a majority stake in the newly created, US-based TikTok Global.

On Wednesday (September 23), the overseas edition of People’s Daily published a commentary to describe the deal as an American trap that had been deployed against Japanese semiconductor maker Toshiba and French rail transport giant Alstom in the past.

It said Chinese people clearly understood the ploy, given that Huawei Technologies had been struggling with it for two years.

ByteDance, TikTok Global’s parent, will lose its controlling stake and core technology in the deal, the commentary noted, citing the so-called cooperation agreement.

The result would be extremely unfair, it said. It would also seriously harm China’s national security and dignity and the long-term development of related Chinese companies, the People’s Daily said.

“Once the US gained some benefits from this deal, it will do it again and threaten more Chinese companies,” it said. “The US practice is a dangerous signal not only to China, but also to the entire world.”

On Monday, the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times ran an editorial under headline, “Say ‘No’ to US robbery of TikTok.”

“Oracle will have the authority to check the source code of TikTok USA and updates. As TikTok and Douyin should have the same source code, this means the US can get to know the operations of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok,” it said.

It said TikTok Global would control the business of TikTok around the world except in China and block internet service providers from the Chinese mainland from accessing it. It added that the US would use the reorganization of TikTok as a future model to turn any successful US-based Chinese company into a US-controlled company.

 The tabloid said the deal exposed “Washington’s bullying style and hooligan logic.”

“It is clear that these articles extensively show Washington’s bullying style and hooligan logic. They hurt China’s national security, interests and dignity,” it said. “China will not accept this kind of bullying arrangement of the US,” the Global Times editorial said.

On Tuesday, Huanqiu.com, a website co-invested by People.com.cn and the Global Times, published a commentary titled “The TikTok deal must not be approved by the US unilaterally.”

“Any deal made by ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart will only be an agreement in principle, instead of a cooperation agreement,” it said. “The commencement of the agreement must be agreed by all parties.”

The detailed terms of the official cooperation agreement must be approved by related authorities before they are effective, it said.

Regarding the challenges faced by TikTok, China had urged the US not to politicize the incident but to provide an open, fair and just business environment for foreign investors.

The commentary said the official deal must protect the rights of the 800 million Douyin users, instead of only the 100 million TikTok users in the US. Besides, the deal must fulfil China’s legal requirements and related management rules, it said.

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