Biden slams brakes on Trump's TikTok and WeChat bans
US President Joe Biden has been quite busy passing executive orders undoing Donald Trump's policy decisions. Many of these orders involve reversing Trump administration's measures meant to keep China in check. The latest move from the President's office has hit the brakes on Trump's ban on WeChat and TikTok apps, after they were accused of conducting espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
TikTok, WeChat were accused of being tools for Chinese espionage
The Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat had come under scrutiny by Trump administration over security risks. The ensuing federal actions compelled them to either sell the business to US companies or risk permanent ban. However, TikTok managed to get relief from US federal judges, who temporarily blocked the ban. The Trump administration was too pre-occupied with elections to pursue proceedings against TikTok.
Trump's concerns stemmed from China's unique 'thousand grains' intelligence strategy
Trump's mistrust for Chinese apps stems from the country's unique and brilliant 'thousand grains of sand' approach to intelligence that is at odds with conventional practices. It's a decentralized intelligence network that relies on overseas Chinese students, expatriates, businesses, and other civilian assets over traditional intelligence agencies. The Trump administration was, therefore, particularly concerned about giving Chinese apps access to the US market.
Oracle's claim on TikTok is uncertain after latest development
Notably, as part of the original deal, TikTok would've been incorporated into a new US-based entity dubbed TikTok Global, with Oracle holding the majority stake alongside other US investors and taking control of American user data. However, both TikTok and Oracle expressed disagreement with the deal, which derailed the process. The negotiations have been in limbo ever since court rulings temporarily halted the ban.
Biden fires off executive orders providing great relief to China
Meanwhile, Biden continues to reverse many of the anti-China moves made by the former President. One of these involves a Trump administration rule requiring American schools and universities to disclose their partnerships with Confucius Institutes. These are alleged to be a front for Chinese Communist Party propaganda. Biden also reversed another Trump order banning Chinese involvement in critical US power grid infrastructure.