Relations with China: Xi Jinping Presidency — [Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 1:59 pm on 16th March 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 1:59 pm, 16th March 2023

But I will not, as you just cautioned me.

Lastly, I welcome the Government’s announcement today on the use of TikTok on Ministers’ devices, in so far as it goes. I do not have you down as a TikTok devotee, Sir Edward—I may be doing you a disservice—but did you know that in China, western TikTok is banned and the addictive algorithms used over here are illegal? Last year, the internet watchdog made it mandatory for domestic companies to give users the choice to opt out of their data being used for personalised content in China. Over here, we know the situation: TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have close ties with the Chinese Communist party and are required to comply with the People’s Republic of China surveillance demand under the cyber-security law. Under standard contractual clauses, data can be transferred to ByteDance or other entities in the PRC from users in the UK and the rest of the west.

We should be nowhere near that system, frankly. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office should initiate an audit under section 146 of the Data Protection Act 2018 to investigate whether TikTok can protect the data being transferred under the legal regime in the PRC. If not, the ICO should consider intervening and prohibiting the data transfer as it cannot be respected in the PRC.

Whatever the Government want to call it and whatever phraseology they use, China is the greatest threat to the peace and security of the globe, and we need to plan accordingly. If people do not believe me, I urge them to read the words of the lifetime dictator who is in control of that country.