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National Security Law: TikTok plans to exit Hong Kong market

Popular video sharing application TikTok has said it will quit the Hong Kong market in a few days, following China’s imposition of a new security law for the city, Reuters reported.

“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a TikTok spokesperson told the news agency.

Last month, China’s parliament passed a national security legislation for Hong Kong that would override local laws and give sweeping powers to security agencies. The unprecedented law is aimed at curbing protests – which rocked Hong Kong last year – and prohibiting subversion, separatism, “acts of foreign interference”, and terrorism. These charges are often used in the Chinese mainland to stifle dissidents and political opponents. The new law will also allow China’s security personnel to operate in Hong Kong.

The statement came days after social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter said they were suspending any cooperation with the Hong Kong police over sharing information. WhatsApp, Google and Telegram have also announced that they would make changes in their Hong Kong operations in view of the new security law.

TikTok is owned by China-based company ByteDance, which operates a similar short video-sharing application called Douyin in mainland China. TikTok has in the past been accused of removing videos that hurt Chinese interests, Bloomberg reported, citing instances such as the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, mistreatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, and India-China border skirmishes.

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