House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) has asserted that communist China is using their social media app TikTok to make its way “into our data systems.”
As calls grow for Congress to ban the Chinese-owned social media app, Turner appeared on ABC News’ “This Week” to discuss the differences between his approach to communist China and President Joe Biden’s approach.
The Intelligence Committee chairman began by pointing out the threat posed by China.
“I think what we heard clearly from the intelligence community is the emergence of China as a threat, both militarily and through espionage… through technology, quantum technology, computing, also certainly the ability for them to insert themselves through TikTok into our data systems,” he said.
Turner then noted that the United States had previously taken action to remove China from “our telecommunication systems” — but all of that progress has been undone by the popularity of TikTok.
“We worked really hard to get them out of our telecommunication systems with – by getting rid of Huawei systems in our telecommunication, and then we’re handing over our phone systems by people downloading a TikTok app, which has no division between, you know, the Chinese company, the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
Turner went on to state that the Biden administration has been “too timid” and “afraid to provoke” China.
“So I think that — the difference I think is that the Biden administration appears to be much too timid,” the Intelligence Committee chairman said. “They’ve been much timid in their approach to Russia, always having been pushed by Congress before they would fully support Ukraine. And I think even in China they’re afraid to provoke. And we believe, I think most, who have looked at the intelligence, that look at what’s happening with their military buildup, they’re tripling their side of their nuclear weapons pointed at the United States, they’re expanding their – their shipbuilding, they’re absolutely emerging as a military threat to the United States. I think we need to respond, and respond very strongly.”
Turner also pointed out that, in August 2020, former President Donald Trump “had banned and required a disinvestment by China of TikTok” — but Biden reversed that ban in June 2021.
Now, the issue has been brought up again by Republican congressmen — some of whom have advocated for a ban of the Chinese-owned social media app for all lawmakers, while others have proposed an outright ban on TikTok for the entire country.