Tehran Tom used the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online safety for children as an opportunity to once again play the tough guy and badger TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, who’s Singaporean, on whether he’s got ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
An increasingly agitated Chew, who’s no stranger to US politicians’ prodding, tried repeatedly to shut down the line of questioning by telling the conservative senator that he’s Singaporean.
Cotton fired off rounds of questions to Chew on his past, present, and future citizenship, his passport, his wife and kids’ American citizenship, and whether he is or ever has been a member of or affiliated with the Chinese communist party.
“Senator, I’m Singaporean, no,” Chew responded.
Chew and the platform’s China-based parent company ByteDance have attracted the lion’s share of politicians’ grilling amid calls to ban the platform here and concerns that the Chinese government could misuse user data.
However that grilling often feeds into judgement-clouding anti-Asian rhetoric, Business Insider’s Paayal Zaveri previously reported.
During another tense hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in March 2023, Zaveri noted, lawmakers bungled Chew’s name, pressed him on whether he had ties to China, and failed to give him a chance to respond during rants on the Chinese Communist Party.
If there’s one thing Cotton and his counterparts are good at, it’s harassing people and grandstanding for the cameras in the hopes of getting some follow-up interviews on Fox, Newsmax or OANN.