During a congressional hearing on online safety for children, Senator Tom Cotton repeatedly questioned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about his affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Cotton grills Chew: On Wednesday, Chew, despite being Singaporean, faced inquiries about his citizenship, passport, family's American citizenship and any association with the CCP. While Cotton repeatedly questioned Chew about his allegiances, the CEO reiterated “I’m Singaporean” twice before the conservative senator made an unsuccessful attempt to prompt Chew to express his opinions on Chinese President Xi Jinping.
About the hearing: The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, featuring CEOs from various social media companies, addressed concerns about online safety for children. Chew and ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, particularly faced scrutiny over potential Chinese influence and user data security.
Anti-Asian rhetoric: The intense questioning has raised concerns about stoking anti-Asian rhetoric and stereotyping. Chew was previously questioned on similar grounds during a hearing in March 2023. The rhetoric has been criticized for unfairly generalizing Chinese people and associating individuals of Chinese ancestry with the actions of the CCP. Advocacy experts express concerns that such rhetoric could target Asians Americans, Chinese nationals in the U.S. and other Asian populations.
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