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    • Donald Trump issued twin executive orders today banning dealings with TikTok and WeChat, two social media platforms that are owned by Chinese companies Byte Dance (TikTok) and Tencent (WeChat). TikTok is a video sharing social media platform while WeChat is sort of a hybrid of Facebook, Instagram, and Apple Pay as people use it to message people and send money to friends as well as buy things at stores that accept WeChat pay. 

      The rationale behind the bans is that TikTok and WeChat pose security risks to the United States via their data being shared with the Chinese government. However, it’s unclear how much data they actually share with China if any. Mobile security experts don’t think TikTok or WeChat are any more invasive in their data collecting than Facebook and Google. So, it really does seem like they are being targeted purely because they are China based companies. Not because there is hard evidence that they are collecting data in malicious ways. 

      I don’t know as much about TikTok, but on the surface, it seems pretty harmless to me. As for WeChat, while I’ve never downloaded it, as one who is learning Chinese, I’ve learned a lot about it and how intricate it is to life in China. If you move to China, it’s a must get. Personally, this seems to be nothing more than Trump trying to fire up his base and show that he’s tough on China. That’s all. I’m not nearly as cynical of the Chinese government as his administration is. 

    • Any company headquartered in China could be asked by the Chinese Govt, to provide data it needs. Unlike in the US, companies don’t get to say no or take a legal course of action.

      Trying to find proof on this stuff would be nearly impossible. Especially if the company and the Chinese govt don’t want you to. The same applies to Huawei not being allowed to install 5G infrastructure in the US.

      Furthermore, absence of proof in this case does not equal to perpetual absolution. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, does not mean it won’t happen in the future.

      Chinese government is one of the least trusted governments in the world. And for good reason. They don’t have democracy to hold their leaders accountable.

      I am saddened by such examples where every action taken by the Trump administration is somehow treated with suspicion by the liberals.

      These actions aren’t being taken by the US alone. A lot of govts around the world share the same concern. They are not all led by Donald Trump or the Republicans.

      I believe this action would (and should) have been taken by any govts in power, even if it were the Democrats... given the current political climate.

      As pointed out by you, we’ve learnt in the past few years that US companies have been mishandling data as well. The only difference being, US companies do it for profit (still very bad and needs to be stopped) but the Chinese might compromise national security.

    • Maybe I've drunk the Chinese Kool-Aid a bit during my Chinese studies, but I don't find them to be as nefarious as some other governments that are out there. Russia I feel is more nefarious.

      We certainly shouldn't blindly trust China or anything along those lines, but I also think it's a mistake to assume everything coming out of China is automatically worth banning and dangerous. I have a more nuanced view of the Chinese government whereas I feel the contemporary Western view of them is 100% negative all the time.

    • I lived in Singapore for 5 years. I have a lot of Chinese friends. I dated a Chinese girl for a while. I’ve travelled to China multiple times, for business as well as pleasure.

      I admire the Chinese people and their culture a lot. I despise the Chinese govt and their policies.

      This disdain is shared by a lot of Chinese nationals. Especially the educated working lot.

      Also, the lack of trust in the Chinese govts isn’t a “Western” thing. That’s more about Russia.

      Governments in India and all of South East Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Japan etc) have had these concerns a lot longer.

      The only exception being North Korea. The less said about that, the better.

    • Have you guys watched the latest Serpentza videos on YouTube? He’s a guy who lived in China for many years and posted videos regularly. Now he’s out of China and he talks about how they followed and harassed him while he lived there and how they harass him now. He has some very interesting and insightful videos.

    • Yeah, I’m quite familiar with Winston. A.k.a. Serpentza. He and this guy whose channel is called Laowhy86 do a lot of cool stuff together. They also have a joint channel called ADV China originally created for the purpose of them biking across China together. Really dope. I feel Serpentza and Laowhy86 have gone really negative towards China over the last couple of years, but if you take them at face value (which I do), I don’t blame them. I’ll link to their channels so you guys can check them out. As a Chinese learner, I really appreciate their perspectives.

    • Yeah, that’s what Laowhy86 and Serpentza say as well. They love the Chinese people, but the government drives them nuts. Cool that you lived in Singapore! That seems like a really interesting place!

    • By extension google et al should be regulated on what they should be allowed to collect. This is as much about a much needed and missing, defining of lines of society - government(s) powers and realms, as it is about politics.

    • Well, that’s part of the counterargument. That Google and Facebook are just as bad, if not worse, when it comes to gathering data.

    • It’s Difficult to accurately judge the Chinese government. Looking at the numbers they have really improved life in China for many of their citizens. The party seems committed to raising the quality of life and growing their middle class.

      But then you see situations like what's happening to the Uighur people. That makes me question the intentions of the party, and what they'll do with all the tiktok data.

      They also severely limit access to American social media. So they can collect our data, use it to improve their AI, develop new strategies for social ma population, etc. But we can't do the same since our social media is banned.

      I'm far from a trump supporter, but for once I might agree with him.