Bipartisan US Bill Threatens TikTok Ban Unless ByteDance Divests App

March 7, 2024

Bipartisan US Bill Threatens TikTok Ban Unless ByteDance Divests App

In the latest salvo against TikTok, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced a bill on Tuesday requiring ByteDance, the Chinese owner of the hugely popular app, to divest control within 165 days or face an effective ban through removal from US app stores.

“This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs,” a TikTok spokesperson responded.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also criticized the bill as unconstitutional. “We’re deeply disappointed that our leaders are once again attempting to trade our First Amendment rights for cheap political points during an election year,” said Jenna Leventoff, an ACLU senior policy counsel.

The bill, led by Republican Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, aims to address so-called “national security risks” over TikTok’s ties to China. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is set to vote on the bipartisan proposal on Thursday.

The confrontation escalates after months of US officials ratcheting up pressure over purported security threats. In January, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, a Singaporean, faced aggressive questioning about his citizenship during a child safety hearing. Weeks ago, he endured grilling from over 50 lawmakers at another hearing focused squarely on TikTok.

With 170 million American users, TikTok has achieved a massive scale, making an outright ban far more complicated. This bill would only block the app from being distributed through official app stores, not prohibit existing users.

As the 2024 election nears and TikTok’s US influence grows, political and corporate interests in both parties appear motivated to bring the platform under domestic control.


Russia, China Plan to Build Nuclear Power Plant on Moon by 2035

Russia and China are considering jointly constructing a nuclear power plant on the lunar surface between 2033 and 2035, according to the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

“Today, we are seriously considering a project – somewhere at the turn of 2033-2035 – to deliver and install a power unit on the lunar surface together with our Chinese colleagues,” Yuri Borisov said on Tuesday.

Borisov explained that while solar panels would be insufficient to power future lunar settlements and habitats, a nuclear reactor could provide the robust energy supply needed. However, he acknowledged that “This is a very serious challenge…it should be done in automatic mode, without the presence of humans.”

In 2021, Russia and China signed an agreement to establish an International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) to develop it with other international partners. The announcement follows China’s successful lunar sample return mission in 2020 and its ongoing work on a modern multi-module orbital station. For its goal of achieving a crewed lunar landing before 2030, this year, China is intensifying work on its lunar human spaceflight project, with its heavy-lift Long March 9 rocket, new-generation crewed spacecraft, lunar lander, and spacesuits entering prototype development phases.


4 Taiwanese Soldiers Suicides in 10 days

On March 6, a distressing incident unfolded in Taiwan as a soldier named Pan tragically took his own life.

Prior to the incident, Pan had posted a comment on Facebook expressing suicidal thoughts. Upon learning about this, his superior promptly reached out to his family. Unfortunately, when they found him near the river outside the military camp, he had already passed away. According to Taiwanese media outlet RW News, this marks the fourth suicide among lower-ranking officers and soldiers in the Taiwanese military since February 26.

Many in Taiwan believe that these incidents are the consequences of a fatal fishing boat clash between the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan. The collision resulted in the tragic deaths of two mainland fishermen. Following the incident, negotiations between the two sides quickly fell apart within a mere 10 minutes on February 26. Taiwan’s “Deputy Director of the Coast Guard Administration,” Hsu Ching-chi, adamantly refused to take any responsibility, offer apologies, provide compensation, or allow the mainland to hold them accountable. She merely expressed a willingness to provide some compensation as a gesture of ‘humanitarianism.’

On March 5, Chinese Premier Li Qiang emphasized the imperative of “comprehensive strengthening of military training and preparations, and coordinated advancement of military combat readiness” in the government work report. While the Taiwan military on March 6 pledged to bolster the provision of psychological counselling resources for active-duty soldiers.

Share This Post