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March 7, 2024 (EIRNS)—A bipartisan group in the House, led by Rep. Mike Gallagher, the Republican chair of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, and Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, introduced legislation on March 5 to give ByteDance about six months or 165 days to divest from TikTok or face a U.S. ban. They want a vote by March 7.

The action came after a U.S. judge blocked a ban on the use of TikTok in late November 2023, saying that it violated Americans’ right to free speech. China’s daily Global Times made the obvious point that the move serves as another example of how U.S. politicians use “protectionism and pan-security for their own political purposes.” They quote a TikTok spokesman as telling them on March 6 that “this bill is an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it. This legislation will trample on the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs.”

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