Lift the Ban on Tik Tok!


16-04-2023: In a media release on April 4, the Australian Attorney General announced a ban on the social media platform Tik Tok for government devices under the “Protective Security Policy Framework”. This move follows corresponding actions of the governments of New Zealand, Canada, Denmark and the United Kingdom (UK), while the European Commission banned its employees from installing or using Tik Tok.[1] At the moment, this ban is for government owned devices, but the precedent may be set for a total ban affecting all sectors of the population of these countries. These moves follow the banning of China based telecommunications giant Huawei from involvement with 5G technology in most Western countries.[2] Earlier this year, the Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles – with a straight face – ordered the removal of 1000 security cameras from government sites, because they were manufactured by the Chinese firms Hikvision and Dahua.[3]

The threat of dance videos?

Tik Tok came to prominence by users often posting funky dance videos of themselves or others, which then garnered a large following online. The very notion that Western countries are threatened by popular dance videos is alone another indicator of the stark decline of the US led empire. The US and allied governments are making the ludicrous assertion that gadgets produced by Chinese owned tech companies pose a national security threat and could be used for spying by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Yet the hypocrisy of the US state in accusing the PRC of potential spying is stunning. Section 702 of the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows US intelligence agencies to conduct warrantless spying on foreigners’ email, phone and other online communications. US lawmakers are also potentially renewing powers that force US big tech firms such as Google, Meta (Facebook) and Apple to facilitate untrammelled spying on non-US citizens located overseas.[4] While accusing the PRC of potentially using Tik Tok to spy on people, Google is already impelled to spy on almost half of the world’s population by the US state.

Yet Tik Tok is far more than just amusing dance videos. Some Turkish labourers have posted videos which document their harsh and intensive working conditions.[5] Tik Tok has 1 billion monthly users, which has already surpassed Twitter, Telegram, Reddit, Pinterest and Snapchat.[6] Tik Tok has huge usage amongst the youth or Generation Z in the US itself. In fact, some speculate that the Democrats may even oppose a blanket ban on Tik Tok for fear of alienating young voters who would usually support them at the polls.[7] Yet the US state charges on regardless, and Tik Tok is effectively being given two options. ByteDance (the owner of Tik Tok) must sell its stake in the app to an entity supposedly not under the control of the Communist Party of China (CPC) or, if ByteDance is unwilling to sell – the app could be banned in the US market altogether. In the “land of the free”, the operation of the “free market” and “free enterprise” does not apply to those who can challenge the top end.

Blatant moves to block the PRC

The overt moves by the governments of Western countries to block Huawei, security camera manufacturers and now Tik Tok is an undisguised attempt to slow down the PRC’s rise to an economic superpower. It is enacted under the false rhetoric of national security, and also thinly veiled racism and sly anti-communism. There are also demands that the Chinese mobile app WeChat cease operating in the US. Yet the WeChat app is far better and more powerful than its US mobile counterpart WhatsApp, and Tik Tok’s AI (artificial intelligence) is two years ahead of anything produced in the US. Huawei’s 5G technology is ahead of all world competitors.[8] Even the US and Australian government and Western weapons manufacturers funded think tank ASPI (Australian Strategic Policy Institute) produced a report admitting that the PRC is leading the world in 37 out of 44 cutting edge technologies. These include: nanoscale materials and manufacturing, AI algorithms and hardware accelerators, supercapacitors, electric batteries, advanced robotics and quantum communications.[9]

In fact, not only does the capitalist West resent the increasing market share of PRC based firms, the more users of its social media technology there are, the less can they be used by the deep states of the “Five Eyes” countries (USA, UK, AUS, NZ, CAN) to surveil and spy on “their own” citizens. It is the West that needs to snoop, censor, block and prevent people from being informed and aware about what is really happening. It is the rapidly deteriorating economies of imperialism which is driving working people to seek more information about systemic political alternatives, as the cost of living is driven up, the political repression that occurred under “Covid” continues, and the ongoing threat of a catastrophic world war increases. This is not to say that every aspect of life in the PRC is fine and dandy, but their living standards are steadily improving in a more or less linear fashion.

The fact that the PRC’s vast economy is leaving the West for dead, that it is way ahead in the development of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computing power, manufacturing, infrastructure building, space exploration and much more is yet more evidence that the PRC does NOT operate any form of “capitalism”, or one which is “state-directed”. Rather, the PRC operates a planned economy which at every step is guarded by the workers’ state which emerged out of the momentous social revolution which triumphed in 1949. It is not just the vast size of the PRC which provides decades and decades of more or less uninterrupted economic growth which is three or four times that of the capitalist West in one very good year of one of their sporadic booms. It is the consolidation of a popular revolution, bolstered by a proletarian state which administers a socialistic society.

Alas, the political leadership of the PRC is crippled by the Stalinism of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which seeks above all endless political and military compromise with imperialism, rather than assisting a world struggle for socialism. And imperialism is running out of time for compromises. Workers internationally should demand the lifting of all bans on Tik Tok, and the end of all economic, political and military moves against the PRC. Capitalism has had its day and must now step aside.



[1] (12-04-2023)

[2] (12-04-2023)

[3] (12-04-2023)

[4] (12-04-2023)

[5] (12-04-2023)

[6] (12-04-2023)

[7] (12-04-2023)

[8] (12-04-2023)

[9] (12-04-2023)

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