U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to ban TikTok proves at least two things. It shows how America has turned its back on the values that have made it great. It also shows to the world that it doesn’t have a monopoly on innovation.
Now, it’s just an app! Many of the videos are actually quite silly. But watching them makes me laugh and forget about the heaviness of our daily lives. For Americans, I guess it gives them a nice break as well, when hundreds of their compatriots are dying of a virus and people bickering over a piece of cloth on their face!
I’ve heard creators are making their livelihood on TikTok as well, and a special fund is expected to support them further. This is a good thing with such staggering unemployment numbers in the U.S.
This is especially true for some talented Americans who have attracted a large audience within a short period of time, who haven’t had this kind of opportunity if they followed the traditional agent model. With this app, they found a brand new platform of expression and creativity, something no other American app has been able to do. And now President Trump wants to take that opportunity away?
TikTok’s users might have staged the emptier stadium in Tulsa, which annoyed President Trump. But that might have spared a few dozen COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma. President Trump might not have liked how the BlackLivesMatter hashtag went viral on TikTok, but that’s against the enshrined First Amendment in the Constitution of the good old U.S. of A. Remember they always accuse others of suppressing freedom of expression, right?
President Trump says the case against TikTok is based on its connection to China.
His trade adviser has openly accused TikTok of stealing personal data and sharing them with the Chinese government. But none of these accusations can be backed up. It’s the same person who said China “spawned” the coronavirus. And President Trump and his Secretary of State Pompeo said they saw evidence the virus came from a lab in Wuhan. They said Huawei could pose security risks… They said this and that, just short of showing evidence. So, guilty until proven innocent? I thought it’s innocent until proven guilty.
Never mind, what are tech experts saying?
A Washington Post piece examined this very question. Among other things they found, TikTok doesn’t take any more of a user’s data than Facebook. TikTok’s app doesn’t do any of these shady things to a user’s phone more than routine tasks as other similar applications would do. And that “there’s scant evidence that TikTok is sharing our data with China.”
A story on the tech magazine Wired asked the same questions. And experts have found TikTok appears to be “in the same league” as other social media applications in data collection, even, pretty tame compared to other apps. And that people are only guessing what the Chinese government can do if they ever get a hold of private data of Americans.
Now don’t judge a person by the color of his or her skin, but the content of his or her character. Now judge a company not of what it does but where it comes from? Sounds like an original sin that can’t be erased. TikTok has done almost everything possible to become “of Americans,” “by Americans” and “for Americans:” its servers in America (and Singapore), hiring an American CEO, creating American jobs, paying American taxes and servicing American consumers. And yet, it seems just not enough.
It’s now asked to be completely severed from its China origin. The move is like forcing someone to disown his or her parents; changing all the blood and selling oneself to a new family, while taking a cut from the proceeds.
Whatever happens, it was a Chinese idea. Some American politicians have been jousting China for stealing American IP. Now by arm-twisting TikTok, they have actually acknowledged America doesn’t have a monopoly on innovation. China can come up with good ideas too.
When one can’t compete, one takes?
With TikTok having been widely used already, that tyranny, and the tyranny over people’s laughter and happiness as well, could be reciprocated on ballots on November 3.
Someone said by threatening to ban TikTok, Trump has just solved the age-old problem of how to motivate young people to come out and vote.
I can almost hear these people scream at the top of their lungs: Give me TikTok or give me death!
Peng Liyuan Calls for Global Efforts in AIDS and TB Prevention and Treatment
Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, called on people from all walks of life in all countries to join hands and take action to strengthen the prevention and treatment of AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), in order to benefit all mankind and build a global community of health for all.
Peng, also World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, made the remarks via video link on Monday at the opening ceremony of a special high-level event on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS.
The event aimed to provide a platform for WHO member states to reassert their commitment to ending TB deaths among people living with HIV and deliberate on how they will intensify the response to HIV-associated TB in the context of COVID-19.
Peng said the global fight against AIDS and TB has achieved remarkable results in recent years thanks to the concerted efforts made by the international community.
China has gradually established a cooperation mechanism between prevention and control institutions of AIDS and TB, she said. The country has kept the prevalence of AIDS at a low level, and in the past 20 years, the incidence of TB has dropped by more than 40 percent and the mortality rate by more than 70 percent.
These achievements have been made due to the attention paid by the Chinese government, the efforts of the medical personnel and the silent contributions of the volunteers, she said.
Peng also shared some touching stories and expressed her respect for people and volunteers worldwide who have contributed to the prevention and treatment of the diseases.
Major communicable diseases are among the common challenges facing mankind, and it is people’s common wish to end the threats of AIDS and TB, said Peng.
She added that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought more challenges to the containment of the diseases, calling for global efforts to protect lives and forge ahead.
Xi Jinping’s Qinghai Tour: Developing Special Industries, Improving Community-Level Governance
Development of special industries and improvement of community-level governance were highlighted on the first day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s inspection tour of northwest China’s Qinghai Province on Monday.
Xi, who is also the general secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, visited a company that makes Tibetan carpets and learned about the design and production processes. Noting the unique features of the carpets, he praised the locals for aptly combining traditional and modern crafts to meet diversified market demands.
The Tibetan carpet industry in Qinghai has helped people out of poverty and promoted rural vitalization and ethnic unity, he noted, adding that he hopes Qinghai will develop more such characteristic industries and achieve better development through innovation.
Later on, Xi visited a residential community in provincial capital Xining to learn about its efforts in strengthening Party building, improving community-level governance and advancing ethnic unity.
“Whenever I go on an inspection tour, I would visit rural villages and urban communities to see how people’s lives are going,” said Xi.
He stressed strengthening primary-level CPC organizations, calling on them to offer high-quality community services in all aspects.
(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting a carpet company in Qinghai Province, northwest China, June 7, 2021. /Xinhua)
China Outlines Four-Point Proposal on Global Fight Against Corruption
China made a four-point proposal on international cooperation against corruption on Wednesday, calling for a zero-tolerance attitude toward corruption and respect for differences between countries.
Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC (CCDI), made the remarks during a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation.
“China is an active participant in and contributor to global anti-corruption governance,” Zhao said. The country contributed to the adoption of the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption by APEC and the High-Level Principles on Cooperation on Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery by the G20, and put forward the Beijing Initiative for the Clean Silk Road to deepen Belt and Road cooperation, he noted.
China’s anti-graft chief Zhao Leji addresses a special session of the UN General Assembly on fighting corruption via video link, June 2, 2021. /Xinhua
Outlining China’s proposal on global anti-corruption cooperation, he called for extensive efforts to uphold fairness and justice.
“The international community needs to forge broad political consensus, take a zero-tolerance attitude toward corruption, build zero-loophole institutions, carry out zero-barrier cooperation, and press ahead with cooperation on persons sought for corruption and asset recovery and on foreign business bribery,” he said.
Meanwhile, countries should respect differences between them and promote equality and mutual learning, he stressed.
“We need to respect the sovereignty and political and legal systems of each country, respect their right to choose their own ways of fighting corruption, and foster an international partnership for anti-corruption cooperation that is based on equality, respect for differences, exchanges and mutual learning, and common progress.”
China’s anti-graft chief called on the international community to “pursue mutually-beneficial cooperation through extensive consultation and joint contribution.”
He also urged countries across the world to “honor commitments and put action first.” Signatories to the UN Convention against Corruption should “honor their solemn commitment of fighting corruption together.”
China’s ‘sweeping victory’ against corruption
Zhao reviewed China’s anti-corruption drive, stressing that the CPC and the Chinese government “stand unequivocally against corruption.”
“We have adopted a holistic approach to address both symptoms and root causes of corruption, and combined law-based punishment, institutional checks, and education and guidance to made our anti-corruption governance more effective,” he said.
In 2020, disciplinary inspection commissions and supervision agencies across the country investigated about 618,000 corruption cases, leading to the punishment of 604,000 people, a report by China’s top anti-graft body said. A total 1,421 fugitives were brought back to China last year, the CCDI report showed.
With “multi-pronged measures” to tackle all acts of corruption, China has secured and consolidated a “sweeping victory” in the fight, Zhao said.
According to a recent survey by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, 95.8 percent of the Chinese people are satisfied with the country’s anti-corruption efforts, he noted.
‘We cannot allow corruption to continue’
The UN General Assembly convened its first ever special session on combating corruption on Wednesday. The special session will conclude on Friday.
President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir addresses a special session on fighting corruption in New York, June 2, 2021. /Xinhua
Addressing the special session, Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, said Wednesday the effects of corruption are “detrimental to all of society” and that it should not be allowed to continue unchecked.
“Transnational financial crime and corruption are unfortunately commonplace in our interconnected, interdependent world,” Bozkir said, adding that corruption affects decision-making processes and “remains one of the most critical challenges for states, institutions, and communities.”
“We cannot allow corruption to continue. We will not,” he stressed.
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