Beijing denounces Liz Truss’s vow to crack down on Chinese firms like TikTok in UK

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China rejected as “irresponsible” a pledge by UK prime minister hopeful Liz Truss to clamp down on Chinese-owned companies such as social-media giant TikTok Inc.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian criticized the remarks made by Truss on Monday during her first head-to-head debate with former Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

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The UK foreign secretary said the government should “absolutely should be cracking down on those types of companies and limit technology exports to authoritarian regimes.”

“We regret their remarks related to China and we firmly oppose them,” Zhao told a regular news briefing on Tuesday in Beijing. “I want to make it clear to certain British politicians that making irresponsible remarks about China, including hyping up the so-called China threat, cannot solve one’s own problems.”

Zhao said China wouldn’t comment on the race to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader, because it was the UK’s internal affairs.

Truss’s comments on TikTok, the popular video-sharing app owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance Ltd., builds on Sunday’s back-and-forth between the two contenders on how to deal with China, with both politicians criticizing each other for their past approaches. The pair are locked in a six-week runoff to replace Johnson as Conservative Party leader, and spent Monday attacking each other’s policy pledges.

Sunak earlier described China as the “biggest long-term threat to Britain and the world’s economic and national security,” and promised to limit its influence in the UK.

The Tory grassroots membership is set to select a winner, with the result due to be announced on September 5.

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