The ban on using TikTok for government officials is said to overstretching the idea of national security states China’s ambassador to the UK
In a sudden move, the UK government has put a ban on the Chinese social media app TikTok on official government devices. The ban has been imposed on civil servants across the UK and also Northern Ireland in a similar fashion. The UK government justified the ban by citing concerns about the Chinese government being able to access sensitive data through the app. The Cabinet Ministers ordered a security review, after which the Cabinet Office announced this ban of social media app TikTok as a part of the wider app review. These concerns over data security have been strongly denied, stating that the app’s user database is not accessible to the Chinese government.
China’s ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang was on his first visit to Northern Ireland, seeking to promote economic cooperation between the two countries. Ambassador Zheng addressed a press conference in Belfast, where he spoke on the data concerns expressed by the UK government that led to a ban on the use of TikTok.
Response by Chinese ambassador
Ambassador Zeguang spoke on the ban by the UK saying that, the ban on the app, stopping government officials from using it and the notion of considering TikTok which is a social media app, to be controlled by the Chinese government is politicizing a tech company and the idea of national security is being stretched in this case.
Mr. Zeguang also mentioned the response of the Chief Executive of TikTok Shou Zi Chew to the United States Congress regarding the commitment of the company to safety, security and ensuring that the privacy of its users is maintained. The platform can be best understood as a way of connecting and staying in touch with the people; this should be understood by the UK government officials.
The issues of TikTok need to be put into perspective as it continues to gain popularity, especially with the youth across the world. Putting a ban on TikTok would only serve to prevent people from understanding the younger generation. Ambassador Zeguang urged policymakers to not politicize the issue or be led astray by the beliefs of a third country.
During his visit, the ambassador also visited the University of Belfast and Ulster University in Northern Ireland and was in attendance at the events there. He expressed “keen interest in both sides working together” with regards to research and production of hydrogen energy. It is in the interests of the city of Belfast and Northern Ireland to pursue this partnership with China.
Regional cooperation being an important component in state-to-state relations was a major point of discussion. The purpose of Mr. Zeguang’s visit with the officials to the universities of Belfast and Ulster was to explore how the business communities of both China and the UK could be integrated. Exploring the potential for more exchanges between people to people, educational cooperation, cultural exchanges, and more between China and the UK. This move could be highly fruitful for both if such major collaborations for people exchange and industry partnerships continue to happen over the years.