Freedom Rider: TikTok and the war on China

Every charge that Trump and his minions make against Chinese companies is true for US corporations, which have been spying on Americans and the rest of the world for decades.

The seemingly strange Trump administration attack on the TikTok and WeChat platforms are just the latest iterations of an economic, rhetorical and propaganda war against the People’s Republic of China. The United States has dispensed with any pretense of diplomatic niceties and resorted to theft and public bullying in a futile effort to undo China’s economic prowess. But the unipolar moment is over and China will remain a power player in the world.

On July 22, 2020, the State Department abruptly gave the Chinese government 48 hours to close its Houston, Texas, consulate. The U.S. claimed that Chinese diplomats were responsible for theft of scientific research and economic espionage. To add insult to injury, the following day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quite literally insulted the Chinese government in a bizarre 40-minute rant against General Secretary Xi Jinping, his foreign minister, all 100 million members of the Chinese Communist Party and even Richard Nixon, who was responsible for the first steps leading to diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Like his boss Donald Trump, Pompeo’s lack of intellect and tact make him unfit for his position. Formerly CIA Director, Pompeo famously blurted out that the agency taught staff to “…lie, cheat and steal.” Of course that is what intelligence agencies do, but most people know better than to admit to dirty deeds.

Pompeo’s speech, entitled “Communist China and the Free World’s Future,” was a turgid laundry list of nonsense that hadn’t been uttered since the worst days of the McCarthy era. Pompeo claimed that China sends propagandists into high schools, colleges and even PTA meetings. He called Xi Jinping a “believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology” and said that China must be distrusted. He warned that if his crazy pronouncements were not adhered to “our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese communist party.”

Not long after Pompeo’s tantrum Trump announced that he was putting the TikTok social media platform out of business in the United States. Just as in Pompeo’s screed, the claim was made that the “Chinese Communist Party” was spying on Americans who want to create their own media for entertainment purposes. Of course, everything that TikTok is accused of is carried out by the surveillance state and corporations here.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has access to every electronic communication carried out in this country. American social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter routinely turn over user information to the CIA and the FBI. The Atlantic Council, an arm of NATO, determines what Facebook will and will not allow to be posted. Data breaches are common and every internet user has given up their private information to scammers. TikTok is surely no more dangerous than any corporation we deal with now.

The same can be said for Huawei, which Trump not only banned from the U.S. but ordered the U.K. to do as well. The Trump administration could not accomplish any of its aggressions without the help of its allies, the vassal states which go along and do as they are told. When Washington ordered Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer and daughter of its founder, prime minister Justin Trudeau did just that. The U.S. accused Huawei of violating U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran. The legality of her arrest is questionable but Canada, a reliable puppet state, did as it was told. China retaliated and arrested two Canadians who remain under detention. But Trudeau doubles down and continues the extradition effort.

If Joe Biden were to become president, U.S. policy would be no different. Biden accuses China of “stealing America’s ideas,” and “forcing U.S. companies to give away their trade secrets.” While the bipartisan consensus is on full display, no one speaks of how China may retaliate.

China’s economic growth will not be hindered by desperate actions. Every American attack on China brings it closer to its allies. The U.S. applies what it calls maximum pressure against Iran, and China and Iran reached a $400 billion trade and aid agreement in response.

Dedollarization, ending dependency on the U.S. dollar, is well underway and will only accelerate with every attack and petty, mean spirited statement. China is increasing the use of its digital currency. Russia and China are amassing large gold reserves. Now that the gloves are off, and the U.S. instigates a new cold war, China and its allies have no choice but to respond in kind. They know that their very survival is at stake.

Most Americans know nothing about dedollarization, or gold reserves, or even that they are already under the thumb of the surveillance state. When the economic counter attack takes place, ordinary people will be victims. It won’t matter that they believe the unproven stories of Uighurs in concentration camps, or that China, the country declared the COVID-19 villain, is the one that conquered the disease most quickly. Ignorance will be no defense, and the economic suffering will happen whether Americans understand it or not.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

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