Critics of the app TikTok say that it gives the Chinese government private access to tens of millions of Americans, and a Republican lawmaker has asked President Biden to ban it.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) took to Twitter hours after Vice President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. Air Force to fire down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon with the simple order, “Now blow up TikTok.”
After people in Montana, Missouri, and the Carolinas told Biden about the balloon, he finally decided to shoot it down a week after it was first seen over Alaska on January 25.
Critics argue the Chinese government may influence what users of the social media app TikTok post since it owns the firm that created the app, ByteDance. Critics argue that this kind of power can be used to spread propaganda, sway elections, or otherwise divert people’s attention.
On Saturday afternoon, the Air Force finally shot down the balloon as it floated over the ocean off the coast of South Carolina.
“After the US shot down a suspected spy balloon that was flying from Montana to the Carolinas, the Chinese government strongly condemned the attack, calling it “unprecedented.”
In a statement released on Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “China strongly opposes and protests the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force.”
The foreign ministry also said that it had repeatedly told the U.S. that the weather balloon, which was thought to be a spy balloon, was “civilian” and did not pose a threat.
Before the U.S. Air Force shot it down off the coast of South Carolina, Beijing had requested a “calm, professional, and restrained” response from Washington.
“The Chinese government “has repeatedly informed the U.S. side of the civilian character of the airship and stressed that its arrival in the U.S. due to force majeure was utterly unanticipated,” the ministry stated. Clearly, “the Chinese side has asked the American side to handle the problem in a calm, professional, and restrained manner.”
Despite pleas from senators and others, the White House announced Friday that Biden would not fire down the balloon because it “does not present a military or physical threat to individuals on the ground.”
To shoot it down was a “clear overreaction,” according to China’s foreign ministry.
In light of this, the United States use of force is an excessive response and a significant breach of international norms, according to the statement. The Chinese government has stated that it will do whatever it takes to protect the company’s legal rights and interests.
Republican politicians have also been critical of Biden’s move, with many claiming that he could have shot down the balloon before it crossed the continental United States. Republican Ted Cruz of Texas said: “There is a palpable air of weakness and hesitation about the Biden administration’s reaction to the Chinese spy balloon. They are undecided on whether or not to shoot it down.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to visit China before the alleged spy balloon incident, and he would have been the highest-ranking U.S. official to do so since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Consequently, the trip is off for the foreseeable future.
Cruz stated that they are “split” on whether or not to visit China.
Even though Vice President Biden says he gave the order to shoot down the balloon on Wednesday, it wasn’t done until Saturday by military officials.
Biden told reporters on Saturday: “I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on Wednesday as soon as possible.”
He said, “On Wednesday, I instructed them to destroy the satellite. They told me to wait until we were in a secure location.”
The command was handed to the military on Wednesday, as confirmed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Lloyd says, “President Biden ordered the surveillance balloon to be taken down right away as soon as the mission could be done without putting American lives in danger.”
On Saturday afternoon, after the balloon had flown over numerous strategically important areas of the United States, including some military bases that housed nuclear warheads, it was shot down.
Related Article : It looks like Biden is coming for your job