According to HuffPost – HONG KONG (AP) — TikTok has said that it will halt operational activities in Hong Kong on Tuesday, planning to join other media companies in warmly watching the implications of a broad brush national security law that came into force last week.
The scheduled exit from Hong Kong of a short-form video application that comes as multiple social media platforms and text messaging apps including WhatsApp, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Telegram balk on the capability of obtaining user information to the officials in Hong Kong.
Social media firms say they are analyzing the security law’s consequences, which bans what Beijing sees as secessionist, separatist or terrorist activities or even as foreign interference in internal affairs of the region. In the Communist-ruled inland, China’s “Great Firewall” blocks the international social media sites.
Critics see the law as the bravest step in Beijing to ever erase the legal gap between the British colony and the actual communist Party system in the inland.
In a declaration, TikTok (www.tiktok.com) said that it had simply stopped operations “because of recent incidents.
In different statements on Monday, Facebook as well as its messaging service WhatsApp announced that they would suspend analysis of government demands for user information in Hong Kong “currently awaiting further evaluation of the National Security Legislation, including systematic due diligence and consultation with international human rights specialists.”
For most of last year, Hong Kong has been roiled with huge, sometimes brutal, anti-government demonstrations as citizens of the former British colony responded to controversial extradition legislation, since withdrawn, that could have led to certain suspects awaiting prosecution in Chinese mainland courts.
The new law prohibits certain pro-democracy slogans such as the commonly utilized “Liberate Hong Kong, Our Period Revolution,” which even the Hong Kong administration claims has nationalist connotations.
The concern is that it corrodes the semi-autonomous city ‘s unique freedoms which have been functioning under a structure for “one country, two systems” after China took power in 1997. That placement allowed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong that were not allowed in inland China, such as unrestricted Internet access and public dissent.
The Telegram site was widely used for spreading pro-democracy texts and protest data. It knows the “importance of protecting our Hong Kong users’ right to privacy,” said Mike Ravdonikas, the company’s spokesperson.
“Telegram has never ever shared any information with the officials in Hong Kong and therefore does not intend to handle any requests for data related towards its consumers in Hong Kong unless an international consensus has been reached regarding the ongoing political changes throughout the city,” he replied.
Twitter also put on hold all queries for information and data from Hong Kong officials after the security law came into force last week, the firm said, stressing that it was “determined to protect the people who use our platform and their freedom of speech.”
“As with other organizations of public interest, human rights representatives and agencies, and business peers, we have serious questions about both the implementation process and the full purpose of this legislation,” the company stated.