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WASHINGTON — President Trump’s sudden decision late Thursday to restrict two popular Chinese social media services from the United States has created confusion about how broad the bans on doing business with China could ultimately be.
華盛頓——週四晚些時候,川普總統突然決定限制兩個熱門的中國社群媒體服務在美國的使用,這引來了人們的困惑,不知道與中國做生意的禁令最終可能波及多廣。
That confusion may be part of the point.
這種困惑或許就是目的之一。
Citing national security concerns, the Trump administration announced that it would bar people and property within U.S. jurisdictions from carrying out “transactions” with WeChat and TikTok, the two Chinese-owned apps, after 45 days. But the White House did not define what those transactions included, leaving companies bewildered about whether they may be forced to fundamentally change their business within a matter of weeks.
以國家安全擔憂為由,川普政府宣布將在45天後禁止美國司法管轄範圍內的個人和財產與微信TikTok這兩款中國應用進行「交易」。但白宮沒有明確定義這些交易的內容,令企業感到困惑,不知自己的業務是否會被迫在幾週內徹底改變。
廣告
Stoking this kind of uncertainty is something that the Trump administration has not been apologetic about in the past. Some White House advisers see it as a feature rather than a bug of their policy process, arguing that the risk of further crackdowns will dissuade American companies from operating in China.
川普政府向來對這種挑起不確定性的做法無所顧忌。一些白宮顧問認為,這是他們政策程序的一大特點,而非缺陷,他們辯稱,遭受進一步打擊的風險可以阻止美國企業在中國開展業務。
That, they said, is a good thing because Chinese policies like “civil-military fusion” have undermined the ability of both Chinese and American companies to operate independently in China.
他們說這是好事,因為中國的「軍民融合」等政策有損中美企業在中國獨立運作的能力。
“Mobile apps like TikTok and WeChat that collect your personal or business information and that can track, surveil or monitor your movements put you and your family in the cross hairs of an Orwellian regime,” Peter Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said in an interview. He posed a question to the mothers of America, “It’s 10 p.m. Does the Chinese Communist Party know where your children are at?”
「像TikTok和微信這樣的手機應用可以收集你的個人或商業信息,並且可以追蹤、監視或監控你的一舉一動,讓你和你的家人陷入歐威爾式政權的注視之中,」白宮貿易與製造業政策辦公室主任彼得·納瓦羅(Peter Navarro)在接受採訪時表示。他向美國媽媽們提出了一個問題,「現在是晚上10點。中共知道你的孩子在哪兒嗎?」
Mr. Navarro acknowledged that some multinationals might oppose the measures, but said that “the American public is tired of the corporate greed that, before the Age of Trump, sent our jobs overseas and now endangers our national security and privacy.”
納瓦羅承認,一些跨國企業可能會反對這些措施,但他表示,「美國公眾已經厭倦了企業貪婪,在川普時代之前,正是這種貪婪將我們的工作崗位轉移到海外,如今又威脅了我們的國家安全和隱私。」
Critics countered that the Trump administration’s unpredictable actions threaten to compromise the secure business environment that the United States is known for, in which rule of law prevails and the government rarely interferes in the market.
批評人士反駁說,川普政府的無常舉動可能威脅以安全著稱的美國商業環境,即法治先行,政府很少干預市場。
“The government inserting this much uncertainty into the business landscape and into the user landscape is deeply problematic,” said Matt Perault, a professor of Duke University’s Center for Science & Technology Policy.
「將如此多不確定性注入商業環境和用戶領域是非常有問題的,」杜克大學科學科技政策中心(Center for Science & Technology Policy)的教授馬特·佩羅特(Matt Perault)說。
廣告
On Friday, TikTok, which is owned by Chinese internet conglomerate ByteDance, said in a statement that it was “shocked by the recent executive order, which was issued without any due process.” It said it had sought to work with the U.S. government for nearly a year but instead found the White House “paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”
週五,隸屬於中國互聯網企業集團字節跳動的TikTok在一份聲明中表示,對「最近發布的毫無程序正義的行政命令感到震驚」。該公司表示,在近一年的時間裡,它試圖與美國政府合作,卻發現白宮「罔顧事實,在不經過標準法律程序的情況下制定協議條款,並試圖介入私營企業之間的談判」。
A spokesman for Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, which is widely used in China and around the world as a messaging and payments app, said it was “reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding.”
微信是一款在中國和世界各地被廣泛使用的即時通訊和支付應用,其母公司騰訊的發言人表示,公司正在「檢視這一行政命令以全面了解情況」。
The Trump administration has steadily ramped up its actions in a broader economic and geopolitical fight with China, starting with a trade war that put tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese products in 2018 and 2019. It also introduced restrictions on other kinds of Chinese technology, including clamping down on exports to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
在與中國進行的更廣泛的經濟和地緣政治鬥爭中,川普政府穩步加大了行動力度,首先是用一場貿易戰在2018和2019年對價值數千億美元的中國產品加徵關稅。他們還對其他各類中國技術進行限制,包括嚴控對中國電信巨頭華為的產品出口。
The sudden, vaguely worded order from the White House on Thursday night, which came without further explanation or a media briefing, followed a familiar model for some of the other policy announcements on China from the Trump administration. Many have left multinational companies in suspense for days or weeks about the specifics.
週四晚間白宮的這道突然而又措辭含糊的命令沒有任何進一步的解釋,也沒有舉行新聞發布會,這與川普政府其他一些對華政策聲明的發布模式相似。很多聲明導致跨國企業陷入數天或數週的困惑,不知道政策的具體細節為何。
With policy moves like tariffs and export controls, the Trump administration wielded uncertainty as a source of leverage, using it to frighten companies into compliance and leaving themselves room to back down or escalate the situation.
通過關稅和出口控制等舉措,川普政府將不確定性當作一種籌碼,嚇唬企業服從命令,給自己留下退讓或升級局勢的空間。
The executive orders on WeChat and TikTok leave the determination of what constitutes a “transaction” up to the secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross. According to the language of the orders, Mr. Ross will make that determination in 45 days, meaning it would not be clear to businesses what will be included in the ban until it actually goes into effect.
關於微信和TikTok的行政命令,將定義何為交易的權力留給了商務部長威爾伯·羅斯(Wilbur Ross)。根據該命令的措辭,羅斯將在45天內做出決定,意味著在禁令真正生效前,企業都搞不清楚禁令將包括哪些內容。
廣告
“It may be that it’s won’t be nearly as bad as people might fear,” said Jason M. Waite, a partner at the law firm Alston & Bird, adding that the administration might discover legal or practical concerns with putting the order in place in the interim. “It is a 45-day surprise.”
「它可能不會像人們擔心的那樣糟糕,」奧斯頓與伯德律師事務所(Alston & Bird)的合伙人傑森·M·韋特(Jason M. Waite)說,他還說政府可能會在此期間發現實施這一命令的法律或實操問題。「這是一場45天的突襲。」
People familiar with the deliberations said administration officials clearly intended to target the presence of WeChat and TikTok on the Google and Apple app stores, cutting off downloads and updates for the Chinese apps. It is unclear if the restrictions could affect other parts of the Chinese companies’ sprawling portfolios and business dealings, particularly for Tencent.
熟知這些商議內情的人士表示,政府官員的目的顯然是針對微信和TikTok在谷歌與蘋果應用商店的存在,想要切斷這些中國應用的下載和更新管道。目前尚不清楚這些限制是否會影響中國企業——尤其是騰訊——不斷擴大的投資組合與商業交易的其他領域。
The order appears to bar transactions with Tencent or its subsidiaries that are specifically related to WeChat. That suggests it would not affect Tencent’s sprawling investment relationships and business dealings with companies like Tesla; the Snapchat owner Snap; the National Basketball Association; Activision Blizzard, the maker of video game World of Warcraft; and Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite.
該命令似乎要禁止騰訊或其僅與微信有關聯的子公司進行交易。這表明它不會影響騰訊與其他公司龐大的投資關係和業務往來,比如特斯拉(Tesla)、Snapchat的所有者Snap、NBA、電玩遊戲《魔獸世界》(World of Warcraft)的製作方動視暴雪(Activision Blizzard)、以及《堡壘之夜》(Fortnite)的製作方英佩遊戲(Epic Games)。
But many American companies, including Visa, Mastercard and Starbucks, have more direct partnerships with WeChat in China to use its payment platform and e-commerce functions. Whether those kinds of activities would be barred in China or around the world, or whether phone makers like Apple would be allowed to sell mobile phones installed with WeChat, remain up in the air.
但包括Visa萬事達(Mastercard)星巴克(Starbucks)在內的許多美國企業都在中國與微信建立了更直接的合作關係,以使用微信的支付平台和電子商務功能。這類商業活動是否會在中國或世界各地被禁止,或者像蘋果這樣的手機製造商是否被允許銷售安裝有微信的手機,這些問題都還沒有定論。
“The Trump administration has left itself a lot of wiggle room in terms of what is covered, how quickly prohibitions will be carried out, and how the order will be enforced,” said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Relations.
「在涉及範圍、禁令將以多快的速度執行以及命令將如何執行等問題上,川普政府給自己留下了很大的迴旋餘地,」戰略與國際研究中心(Center for Strategic and International Studies)的中國問題專家甘思德(Scott Kennedy)說。
Other Chinese tech companies could find themselves as the next target of the Trump administration. U.S. officials viewed the executive orders on TikTok and WeChat as a template that could be applied to other Chinese companies, and some have discussed whether services like Alibaba’s Alipay pose a similar national security concern, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
其他中國科技公司可能會發現自己成為川普政府的下一個目標。據知情人士透露,美國官員認為對TikTok和微信的行政命令是一個可應用於其他中國企業的模板,一些官員還討論了阿里巴巴的支付寶等服務是否構成類似的國家安全隱患。
廣告
“There’s definitely a chilling effect,” said Samm Sacks, a fellow in cybersecurity policy and China’s digital economy fellow at New America, a think tank. But she said that companies like Alibaba and Tencent had long understood the risks of operating in the United States.
「這絕對是一種寒蟬效應,」智庫新美國(New America)的網路政策和中國數字經濟研究員薩姆·薩克斯(Samm Sacks)說。但她表示,阿里巴巴和騰訊等公司早就明白在美國運營的風險。
“This latest move may have come as a surprise, but their real growth strategies have never focused in the U.S.,” she said. “They’ve always known it was a hostile environment.”
「這一最新舉措可能是個意外,但這些公司真正的增長戰略從來就沒把重點放在美國,」她說。「他們一直清楚那是一個充滿敵意的環境。」