London [UK], August 9 (ANI): Citing that Tiktok is providing user data to the Chinese government, the British Parliament has shut down its TikTok account, media reports said.
The British Parliament has shut down its TikTok account after some Members of Parliament sanctioned by China raised concerns about data security, reported Politico. Just six days after opening the account, parliamentary authorities confirmed they had deactivated the social media profile.
The Members of Parliament expressed concerned about the relationship between TikTok and its Chinese owner ByteDance. Senior politicians expressed doubt that the TikTok user data is shared with Chinese multinational internet technology company ByteDance, reported Politico.
The media outlet citing a letter to the speakers of the Commons and Lords, revealed that Tory politicians including Tom Tugendhat, Iain Duncan Smith and Nus Ghani -- all subject to sanctions by Beijing -- had called for the account to be taken down.
A spokesperson for the U.K. parliament said, "Based on member feedback, we are closing the pilot U.K. parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned. The account was a pilot initiative while we tested the platform as a way of reaching younger audiences with relevant content about parliament."A TikTok spokesperson said, "While it is disappointing that parliament will no longer be able to connect with the millions of people who use TikTok in the UK, we reiterate the offer to reassure those Members of Parliament who raised concerns and clarify any inaccuracies about our platform."The group of politicians had said they were "surprised and disappointed" with the decision to set it up.
They pointed out that China's National Intelligence Law requires companies to yield data to government authorities upon request, and expressed doubt over a TikTok executive's reassurances to Parliament in 2021 that its user data is not shared with ByteDance in China, as per the media portal.
Tory politician Ghani thanked the speakers for "showing serious spine in defending our values, protecting our security and sharing our concerns about TikTok," and heaped praise on Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) colleagues for shining a spotlight on China's treatment of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.
Meanwhile, as Britain's Members of Parliament intensify their campaign against China over rights violations in Xinjiang province, the British government has replaced security equipment provided by Chinese-owned tech companies at key government offices, media reports said.
This comes as the British MPs alleged that the Chinese government is persecuting minorities and intruding on governmental departments and research centres worldwide. They also accused China of violating the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries.
Among the Chinese companies are Hikvision and Dahua. Offices belonging to the Home Office, Department of HealthSocial Care, Department of Work and Pensions, and Department of Justice are replacing the Chinese-made security equipment.
Welcoming the move, Prof Fraser Sampson, Commissioner for the Retention and Use of Biometric Material and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, said that other government departments would review their existing systems and will consider the clauses suggested by him in procuring surveillance and security equipment.
While speaking to media portal Asian Lite, Sampson asserted that an investigation into the security equipment is necessary.
Sampson is an expert in criminal justice and national chair of the Association of Police and Crime Chief Executives. He said that the market is flooded with privately owned and unregulated recording devices like dash cams, mobile phones, and video doorbells etc.
"We don't need these many CCTV cameras in our public places. We simply need a system to compile the content and edit to make it useful for the security purpose," he said.
In his 2021 report, Sampson urged the government to consider the supplier's human rights records in the procurement process.
Xinjiang's Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang have been subjected to severe human rights abuses, torture and forced labor, as well as the eradication of their linguistic, cultural and religious traditions in what the United States and several Western parliaments have called genocide and crimes against humanity.
Chinese authorities have detained up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in internment camps since 2017, according to numerous investigative reports by researchers, think tanks and foreign media.
However, China always declines the blames and claims the camps were vocational training centers meant to deter religious extremism and terrorism, reported Radio Free Asia.
The Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia. Their native region is considered to be the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China.
Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China. The Uyghurs are Muslim, they don't speak Mandarin as their native language, and their ethnicity and culture is different from that of mainland China. Over the past few decades, as economic prosperity has come to Xinjiang, it has brought with it large numbers of the majority Han Chinese, who have cornered the better jobs, and left the Uyghurs feeling their livelihoods and identity are under threat.
This led to sporadic violence, in 2009 culminating in riots that killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, in the region's capital Urumqi.
According to reports, since 2016, over a million Uyghur Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang re-education camps by the Chinese Government. The main purpose of these re-education camps was to ensure adherence to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party.
Chinese authorities have been accused of imposing forced labour, systematic forced birth control and torture, and separating children from incarcerated parents. Several countries, including the US, Canada and the Netherlands, have accused China of committing genocide - defined by international convention as the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".
China has been forcibly mass sterilising Uyghur women to suppress the population, separating children from their families, and attempting to break the cultural traditions of the group.China denies all allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, claiming its system of "re-education" camps is there to combat separatism and Islamist militancy in the region. (ANI)