Sen. Tom Cotton Criticized for Aggressively Questioning TikTok CEO About Citizenship

( – Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton is facing criticism after he questioned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about any relationship he may have with the Chinese Communist Party and his citizenship.

Chew, and the CEOs of Twitter, Meta, Snap, and Discord attended the hearing about child safety online as lawmakers seek to regulate social media. Lawmakers asked all the CEOs about proposed legislation that focuses on issues such as content moderation aimed at teenagers to curbing the sale of illicit drugs on social media platforms.

During the hearing, Cotton asked Chew if he was ever a Chinese Communist Party member, with Chew responding that he was from Singapore. Cotton then asked if he was ever “associated or affiliated” with the CCP, with Chew responding again that he was Singaporean. Cotton also questioned Chew about his perspective on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, with Chew answering that “there was a massacre” that also occurred during the protests.

On social media, users criticized Cotton for asking the questions.

On Twitter, journalist and digital media consultant Heidi Moore called Cotton’s questioning a “revelation of how racist our government is.” While the AAPI Victory Fund, which supports Asian American political candidates, said the questioning was “disgraceful, blatantly racist, and deeply dangerous.”

Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu also tagged Cotton in a post on Twitter, writing that people can be from different countries in Asia, even though they “may look similar to you.” He offered to help “provide additional basic facts” to Cotton or his staff as needed.

This is not the first time lawmakers have questioned Chew. Republicans and Democrats have been critical of TikTok and ByteDance, its China-based parent company. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisles have expressed concern over whether the company shares its user data with the Chinese government. In March 2023, lawmakers questioned Chew about the security and safety of TikTok, which he said is “free from any manipulation from any government.”

Copyright 2024,