Chinese social media platforms are popular worldwide. The best example of this is the “TikTok” app. But as it turns out, the Chinese government has access to all the data there and is using it against the free world. That should give the governments of the free countries pause for thought. Because only one thing applies to Beijing: no one is above the party.

The debate about the influence of the Chinese dictatorship on thinking and public opinion in free countries has received new fuel: This time it’s about the social media platform TikTok. Beijing can access all the data in the app, which is popular with young people and on which 1.6 billion people around the world share short videos. This has now been revealed by the US magazine BuzzFeed. Reporters came across internal emails from TikTok owner Bytedance, in which employees are quoted as saying that China “sees everything” and has “access to everything”. Although TikTok always stated that it was not under any control of the Chinese Communist Party outside of the People’s Republic, the journalists found the opposite.

As a result, even an internal TikTok investigation is said to have come out that there are functions on the app developed in China that “nobody knows what they are intended for”. This statement also substantiates the assertion that data can be accessed anywhere in the world in the People’s Republic. It’s about access. The data itself is all stored on servers outside of the People’s Republic, this TikTok statement seems to be correct.

In relation to Taiwan, where TikTok is also popular, Beijing is said to already be abusing the app for psychological warfare against the Taiwanese, according to a media report by Deutsche Welle. The People’s Republic regards the democratically run island country as a breakaway province. China’s leader Xi has vowed to take the country by force to the People’s Republic.

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It is not the first time that companies have come under criticism: the US video call provider Zoom, a winner of the Covid pandemic, is said to have summarily canceled meetings and conferences that wanted to deal with a topic that was negative for the dictatorship in Beijing, such as Hong Kong have not allowed. In the past, events that addressed the mass murder of the communist leadership of students on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989 were also prevented from being held. Schools and other institutions then switched away from the provider.

The influence of the Communist Party on Chinese entrepreneurs inside and outside the People’s Republic was discussed above all with regard to the telecommunications group Huawei. The USA, England and France have banned the technology when expanding their mobile networks. The Federal Republic, which, as the example of Russia made clear, tends to try to do business with companies based in dictatorships for as long as possible, only followed the example of its partners after long hesitation and hesitation.

Huawei, Zoom, TikTok: The list of companies through which the leadership of the People’s Republic is trying to ruthlessly and illegally gain influence all over the world and use stolen knowledge against the people who are paying for the use of Chinese offers at the same time, won’t get shorter. This approach is perfidious. The technology sector in particular has come under Xi Jinping’s thumb, successful Internet entrepreneurs such as Alibaba founder Jack Ma are patronized and like to disappear from the scene for weeks. The message Beijing is sending to its own people and to the world is: Nobody is above the party. This development must not be ignored or tolerated by governments in the free world.

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