China will see move as another swipe as relations deteriorate

China’s response to the spate of countries banning TikTok on government devices has been predictably angry and incredulous, with a dose of mockery thrown in for good measure.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said previously of the US decision that it demonstrated insecurity and was an “abuse of state power”.

In a notable dig, she added: “How unsure of itself can the US., the world’s top superpower, be to fear a young person’s favourite app to such a degree?”

But despite attempts to make light, Beijing will certainly see this as yet another swipe in an atmosphere of fast deteriorating relations with the West.

It comes at a time where the distrust runs deeper than ever.

What underpins that distrust from the Chinese perspective is a fundamental belief that Western powers are pursuing a policy of “containment” towards it – in other words, that they are self-consciously seeking to prevent the country from growing and developing because they object to an ascendant China in theory.

Restrictions on one of its most prominent exports will absolutely be seen as part of this policy.

The irony, of course, is that China has entirely blocked the use of multiple western social media apps – the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Google have not been available here for over a decade.

The motivation was different, but it all adds to a worrying picture of increasing polarisation.