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ByteDance Breaks Off TikTok Deal Talks As Game Of ‘Political Chicken’ With Beijing Intensifies

During what has already been a tense day for Beijing’s deteriorating relationship with the West, a day that has seen the CCP slap sanctions on nearly a dozen GOP lawmakers & China hawks, while arresting a pro-democracy media tycoon with dual British citizenship in Hong Kong, Beijing has just sent the clearest signal yet that it will oppose the sale of TikTok to Microsoft, and likely any other US buyer.

The decision comes amid intense pressure from the Trump Administration pressing ByteDance to sell TikTok, which is believed to have 100 million users in the US, a fraction of its total global user base, or face a ban from the Apple and Android US app stores, an almost-unprecedented move that would severely limit the popularity of the breakout Chinese social media platform.

And the fact that the news is being published by the SCMP, an English-language newspaper controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who has already been outed as a member of the Communist Party, suggests that this is Beijing’s new official negotiating line. It’s part of a complex and opaque strategy of using leaks to state-controlled and state-sympathetic media and reporters around the world.

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