VOC Supports Uyghurs through the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act”

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, joined Campaign for Uyghurs, and the Uyghur Human Rights Project, on Capitol Hill to speak with Congress on the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act.” In a joint letter, VOC and other human rights groups highlighted the dangers of TikTok as an intelligence tool for the CCP in the United States and its active suppression of Uyghur voices.

On April 2, 2024 the bill passed on the House Floor 352-65.

Read the full letter below.

Honorable Members of the Senate:

We, a coalition of U.S.-based organizations and human rights activists, urgently seek your support for the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act which recently passed in the House and is pending in the Senate. The signatories of this letter share the common goals of advocating for communities targeted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and addressing its threat to democracy.

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, operates directly under the control of the CCP, which is
known for its blatant human rights violations, misuse of surveillance technology, and global propaganda
schemes. As representatives of affected communities, we believe that this bill effectively addresses the
threat posed by the CCP to the security of U.S. citizens and the integrity of our information environment,
all without restricting free speech or harming the app’s users.

TikTok’s latest data privacy policy allows the sharing of user data with the Chinese government for
“purposes related to national security.” Many signatories of this letter have been subjected to transnational repression, facing cyberattacks, surveillance, and threats for their advocacy. Under its current ownership, TikTok serves as a direct conduit for advancing the CCP’s agenda of tracking, censoring, and intimidating American citizens. Additionally, TikTok and other ByteDance-owned apps contain algorithms that censor content critical of the CCP while amplifying anti-Western narratives. With TikTok under CCP control, this manipulation extends to the United States, impacting our public discourse. This influence shapes public sentiment and affects public policy, thus highlighting China’s infiltration and sway over the U.S. democratic process.

It is crucial to emphasize: we do not advocate for banning the app. Instead, we aim to confront the
problematic ownership of the social media platform by the Chinese government—a regime known for its
ruthless pursuit of centralized control through the surveillance, collective punishment, imprisonment, and torture of dissidents, depriving its citizens of all basic freedoms and rights. This regime’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic freedom has been relentless, with dissenters facing harsh
reprisals. Taiwan faces constant military threats and disinformation campaigns undermining its
sovereignty. Southern Mongolians endure cultural erasure and persecution. Tibetans suffer inhumane
surveillance and erosion of identity, including the abduction of children into state boarding schools and
arbitrary detention. The CCP has effectively developed the capacity to surveil and erase an entire ethnic
group while making a profit, as seen by the forced birthrate suppression, forced organ harvesting, forced
labor, and genocide of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan (also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous
Region). TikTok has been utilized by the Chinese Government to disseminate propaganda and
disinformation regarding every atrocity listed above.

Businesses under the control of a dictatorship have virtually unlimited resources to further the dictator’s
interests. Even in discussions regarding this bill, we are caught in an information war, with TikTok
spreading misinformation to instill fear that this legislation will ban the app. The legislation proposed in
H.R. 7521 does not intend to resort to a ban, and if the company is not sold to a suitable buyer, consumers of the app can safely and seamlessly transition their data to an appropriate alternative platform.

We urge you to support this crucial piece of legislation which addresses the truth: the CCP’s ownership of TikTok is an active threat to American society. A danger the signatories of this letter are actively working to combat everyday.

Please support the advancement of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled
Applications Act in the Senate.

Thank you for your time and taking our request into consideration.