TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew refuted claims that Chinese authorities have access to the short video app’s US user data at a US congressional hearing on Thursday. Chew maintained that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is “not owned or controlled by the Chinese government.” On Monday, TikTok announced that it had amassed 150 million monthly active users in America, nearly half of the country’s population. During the approximately five-hour hearing, US lawmakers grilled Chew on issues related to data collection and privacy, political misinformation, children’s potential addiction to the app, and the app’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Chew acknowledged that China-based employees may still have access to some US user data, but he also stated that this access would cease once Project Texas, a program to isolate US user data from overseas access, is complete. When addressing American officials’ security concerns, Chew called many of the risks “hypothetical and theoretical,” citing a lack of evidence. Hours before the hearing, China’s Ministry of Commerce strongly opposed the Biden administration’s demand for a forced sale of TikTok from Chinese-owned parent firm ByteDance, asserting that such a sale or divestiture would involve the export of Chinese technology and should therefore be approved by the Chinese government. [TechNode Reporting]