Progress of Chinese App Ban at the University of Tennessee


The Obeservation of an International Student on Progress of Chinese App Ban: State Legislation, University Policy, and the Affected Community at the University of Tennesse (UT).

Published on May 12, 2023, and last updated on February 7, 2024.

Quick Links: SB0843 | Amendment1 | TikTok Law

Recordings: SB0834 | Amendment1

Discussion on SB0834 starts from 1:55:55, and discussion on Amendment1 starts from 37:42.

Dec 6, UT provided details of Tik Tok Ban

On December 6, in response to Jinning’s request, the Center for Global Engagement provided details regarding Tennessee Law SB 0834 (HB 1445), also known as the TikTok Ban Law. This information is available at Details regarding Tennessee Law -SB 0834/HB 1445 A.K.A “Tik Tok Ban Law”.

In the detailed second and third points, UTK clarified that it was the State of Tennessee, not the University of Tennessee, that created the law. Additionally, UTK claimed that the state legislation does not provide an exhaustive list of applications; the names mentioned are examples of known applications that are Chinese owned and operated.

However, these details did not clearly answer the question of HOW those apps were determined to be “known applications” for a “social media platform” and WHO made these determinations.

Jinning has tried to reach out to the campus leaders for further clarification.

Nov 5, UTK leaders met with university members

meeting Contact Jinning Wang at if any copyright concerns.

On November 5, Chancellor Donde Plowman and her Cabinet met with the invited university members to discuss the Tik Tok ban.

At the beginning, attendees explored potential alternative apps and technologies that could be of assistance. Unfortunately, the discussion did not lead to any meaningful conclusions.

Subsequently, campus leaders introduced their ongoing pilot project aimed at helping the impacted community stay in touch with their families and friends in China. This project is expected to take a couple of weeks to complete preliminary test.

One suggestion from the students during the meeting was to consider providing financial support to the affected community as a means of mitigating the ban’s impact. However, campus leaders expressed concerns about whether university funding could be utilized in this manner.

Additionally, Jinning Wang wondered a justification for the list of banned apps, as he had been advocating for this since the beginning. The campus leaders explained that both WeChat and TikTok had been explicitly mentioned during the legislative discussion, while other apps were added based on conventions followed by other institutions.

In the end, Jinning Wang made two requests of the university: 1) A written report detailing the university’s involvement in the legislation process, internal discussions, and the criteria for app selection; 2) An email from the university expressing apologies to the impacted community for the lack of communication and demonstrating their support for the affected members.

The campus leaders agreed to comply with both requests.

Sep 6, CFAAPI met with the UTK leaders

On September 5, CFAAPI leaders were invited to meet with the Chancellor Donde Plowman and her leadership team. In this context, CFAAPI forwarded Jinning Wang’s feedback to the campus leadership team.

Jinning Wang’s letter is excerpted below, and he strongly advocates for the third mitigation measure, as he believes it will benefit the entire Volunteers:

Dear University of Tennessee Campus Leaders,

I would like to offer some suggestions regarding the recent Chinese app ban policy that has been implemented at our university.

In light of the Chinese app ban policy, our university faces several potential challenges that merit attention:

  1. Compliance with State Government: As a subordinate institution to the state government, the university is obligated to follow government decisions, regardless of the decision’s nature.
  2. Lack of Awareness: Campus leaders may not be fully aware of the potential negative consequences associated with this policy.
  3. Lack of Precedence: The university may not have encountered similar issues in the past, leading to uncertainty in handling this situation.
  4. Lack of Appropriate Discussion with Impacted Communities: Adequate consultation and discussion with the communities affected by this policy may not have occurred, potentially leading to misunderstandings and concerns.

To address these challenges, I propose several mitigation measures:

  1. Feedback Mechanism: To bridge the gap between the state government and the university’s operational realities, establishing a feedback mechanism can help convey the challenges and complexities faced by our institution due to the app ban.
  2. Task Force: Given the busy schedules of campus leaders, forming a dedicated task force comprising experts who can thoroughly analyze the policy’s impact and potential alternatives could be more effective and practical.
  3. Transparency through Reporting: Publish a comprehensive report detailing the timeline of the university’s involvement in the legislation process, internal discussions, and the criteria for app selection. This report would provide valuable insights to all volunteers and help create a more balanced policy.
  4. Suspending the Controversial Policy: Considering the potential negative impact and lack of convincing justification, it may be prudent to temporarily suspend the controversial policy until further convincing evidence or justifications are provided.

Your dedication to ensuring the best interests of the university and its community is greatly appreciated. Thank you for considering these suggestions, and I look forward to seeing how we can collectively navigate this issue.

Jinning Wang

May 5, CGE hosted a listening session

On May 5, Center for Global Engagement hosted a listening session to support the Chinese community. In the session, university members from various backgrounds expressed their concerns and suggesstions, following excerpted part of commonts from listening session.

Comment 1: Passive UTK Leadership

I felt that the UTK leadership who participated in the Listening Session merely strived to explain their obligations in complying with the law. Unfortunately, this is a passive approach that shows the ineptitude of their leadership skill.

The bigger question is that if they genuinely believe in diversity, equity and inclusion, and they aim to establish the Institute of American Civics with a goal of preventing social division, why wouldn’t they actively advocate and express their disagreement with such anti-Asian law?

The UTK leadership did not show any willingness to do so, but merely whitewash their actions. This is called condescension to the AAPI community.

Comment 2: Poor Mobile Signal

Some people might say just use your own data if you cannot use WiFi in campus. But the thing is that in most school buildings, the signal is so poor. For example, when using mint mobile and now in student union, one can barely use phone network because there is no any signal.

Then, the question is: is it possible for the university to improve the signal in the campus or provide a funding for the impacted community to transfer to other mobile operators with better service.

Comment 3: Possible Support

Technical support: OIT provides VPN download.

Emotional support: Sending encouraging emails to students, faculty, and staff.

Comment 4: Disparity in User Numbers


Huge difference in number of users among TikTok and other Chinese apps. As we know, TikTok’s popularity exploded in the US in 2019 and 2020, with millions of users joining the platform and creating and sharing short videos. As of 2021, TikTok had over 100 million monthly active users in the United States.

This number is based on data from the app analytics company App Annie and represents a significant increase from the approximately 40 million monthly active users TikTok had in the US in 2019. TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps in the US, particularly among younger users

However, the majority users of WeChat and other apps are located in China. According to the United States Census Bureau, as of the latest available data from 2020, the Asian population in Tennessee was estimated to be approximately 100,745, which represents about 1.5% of the state’s total population. However, it is important to note that the Asian population in Tennessee is not a homogeneous group and includes individuals from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

And the Chinese population in Tennessee was estimated to be approximately 12,070, which represents about 0.2% of the state’s total population. That means about 13% of total Asians in Tennessee may have Chinese background. According to the University of Tennessee’s Fact Book for Fall 2021, there were 1,066 international students enrolled at the university, and of those, 397 were from Asia. Let’s do a rough calculation, if we use the 13% times the 397, there are just about 52 students may have Chinese background.


Does it make sense to put WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Tencent Video, Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan, and Toutiao at the same position on the same level of significance of TikTok considering the so called “National security concerns”?


Would the university of Tennessee consider this to be a form of segregation and unjust treatment of minorities of Chinese international students and staffs? Would University of Tennessee consider the potential impact of increasing community hatred towards Asian students? Are there any ways to handle those potential negative impacts?


This member shared a personal story, given privacy concern, this part was not displayed here.

The third question is that: Is that possible for University of Tennessee to ban TikTok only in the campus instead of all the Chinese apps in the list?

Comment 5: Policy and Volunteer Spirit


In the email from the IT department, it was mentioned that nine apps, including WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Tencent Video, Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan, and Toutiao, were banned.

However, it is not clear why these specific apps were selected for the ban. Could the university provide more information on the criteria used to determine which apps were banned as social media platforms?


The recent policy banning certain Chinese social media platforms has had significant impacts on certain groups of university members. However, there was no prior information or discussion with the university community before the ban was implemented.

To ensure transparency in policy making and address the concerns of the affected community members, could the university provide information on the process by which this policy was developed and implemented?


Given the IT department’s quick implementation of the policy, it is important to ensure that the policy complies with the regulations and standards of the University of Tennessee.

Is there a double-checking process in place to double-check the policy’s consistency with the university’s standards and regulations?


Tennessee General Assembly, the bill was signed by Governor on 04/13/2023. On 9:10 AM 04/14/2023, an email from the University, informed the implemented ban. On 3:PM 05/05/2023, a listening session to support Chinese community was held.

Why was there a significant difference in response time between the legislation, which was responded to within 24 hours, and the university members, who had to wait 22 days for a response?


The Volunteer Spirit is a philosophy of service and leadership deeply ingrained in the University of Tennessee’s culture and history.

This spirit is rooted in the region’s history of volunteerism and emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community through service and leadership. This philosophy extends beyond the university’s students to include its faculty, staff, and alumni.

Alongside its technical innovations, the university’s unique character of Volunteer Spirit is a defining aspect of its identity. Through their dedication to giving back, the Volunteer family is changing lives for the better, in the city, state, country, and around the world.

Today, we have some Chinese students, staff, and faculty attending this talk. These individuals have left their homes and crossed the Pacific Ocean to work and live here. Some will leave the university after completing their studies or work, going on to make a difference in the world with the knowledge and skills they gained here. However, the more important thing is the Volunteer Spirit that the university instills in its members.

Now, there is a chance for the university to make a difference. Will the university seize this chance to show its commitment to service and leadership, or will it leave our Chinese colleagues alone, again?

May 3, J.Wang shared his opinion on the Chinese app ban

On May 3, Jinning Wang shared his opinion on the University of Tennessee’s Chinese app ban, On Chinese app ban, UT can comply with state law and protect individual rights.

Apr 18, UT Daily Beacon interviewed on the impacted community

Interview on the impacted Chinese community

On April 18, the UT Daily Beacon conducted a timely interview shedding light on the Chinese community directly impacted by the recent Chinese app ban. In the interview, Chinese students, who have been stripped of their communication tools due to state law, express their concerns regarding the perceived lack of support from the university. Read more about their experiences in the article, Chinese students stripped of communications by state law claim lack of university support.

Apr 14, UT implemented Chinese app ban

On April 14, following the signing of the law by Governor Bill Lee on April 13, Ramon Padilla, CIO and Vice Chancellor for IT and Innovation, on behalf of the University of Tennessee, sent out an email on to inform the University of Tennessee system on the newly implemented “TikTok Law.”

Apr 13, SB 0834 was signed into law

On April 13, Governor Bill Lee signed SB0843 into law.

Mar 2, Amendment1 was made to the bill

On March 2, Amendment1 was made to the bill on to specify the range as social media platforms operated or hosted by a company based in the People’s Republic of China.

Jan 30, SB 0834 was filed for introduction

On January 30, SB0843 by Senator Jon Lundberg was filed for introduction to prohibit a public institution of higher education that provides internet access to students, faculty, staff or the general public from allowing an individual to access a video platform using the institution’s network if the video platform is owned by a company headquartered outside of the United States.




12月6日,作为对王晋宁的要求的回应,CGE 提供了有关田纳西州法律SB 0834(HB 1445)的详细信息,也称为Tik Tok禁令法。这些信息可在有关田纳西州法律SB 0834(HB 1445)的详细信息中查看。





11月5日,校长 Donde Plowman 及其内阁与受邀的大学成员会面,讨论 Tik Tok 禁令。




此外,王晋宁对被禁应用名单的选取提出疑问,一如该事件开始时那样。 校领导解释说,立法讨论中明确提到了 WeChat 和 TikTok,而其他应用是根据其他机构的惯例添加的。




9月5日CFAAPI 领导受邀与校长 Donde Plowman 及校领导团队会面。在此背景下,CFAAPI将王晋宁的反馈意见转交给了校领导团队。





  1. 遵守州政府法规:作为州政府的从属机构,大学有义务遵守政府的决定,无论其性质如何。
  2. 缺乏认识:校园领导可能未能充分认识到与这一政策相关的潜在负面后果。
  3. 缺乏先例:大学可能以前没有遇到类似的问题,这可能导致在处理这种情况时伴有不确定性。
  4. 与受影响群体缺乏适当的讨论:可能尚未与受该政策影响的社区进行充分的咨询和讨论,这可能导致误解和担忧。


  1. 反馈机制:为了弥合州政府与大学实际运营之间的差距,建立反馈机制有助于传达由于App禁令而使我们单位面临的挑战和复杂性。
  2. 工作组:鉴于校领导的繁忙工作日程,成立一个由专家组成的工作组,可以对政策的影响和潜在替代方案进行彻底分析,可能更加有效和切实可行。
  3. 通过报告实现透明度:公开一份详尽的报告,详细描述大学参与立法过程的时间线,内部讨论以及App选择标准。这份报告将为所有志愿者提供有价值的见解,有助于制定更加平衡的政策。
  4. 暂停有争议的政策:考虑到潜在的负面影响和缺乏令人信服的理由,暂时暂停有争议的政策可能是明智的,直到提供进一步令人信服的证据或理由。




5月5日CGE 举办了一场支持中国社区的听证会。 会上,来自不同背景的大学成员表达了他们的关注和建议,部分讨论内容如下:






有些人可能会说,如果你不能在校园里使用WiFi,就用你自己的数据。但问题是,在大多数学校建筑里,信号非常差。例如,在学生会堂使用mint mobile时,一个人几乎无法使用手机网络,因为几乎没有信号。







TikTok与其他中国应用程序之间的用户数量存在巨大差异。 众所周知,TikTok在2019年和2020年在美国的受欢迎程度激增,数百万用户加入平台,创作和分享短视频。截至2021年,TikTok在美国的月活跃用户超过1亿。

这个数字是基于应用程序分析公司App Annie的数据,与2019年TikTok在美国的约4000万月活跃用户相比,有了显著增长。 TikTok已成为美国最受欢迎的社交媒体应用之一,尤其是在年轻用户中。

然而,微信和其他应用的大多数用户位于中国。 根据美国人口普查局的数据,截至2020年的最新数据,田纳西州的亚裔人口估计为100,745人,占州总人口的约1.5%。 然而,值得注意的是,田纳西州的亚裔人口并非一个同质的群体,包括来自许多不同种族和文化背景的个人。

田纳西州的华人人口估计为12,070人,占州总人口的约0.2%。 这意味着田纳西州约13%的亚洲人可能有中国背景。根据田纳西大学2021年秋季学期的事实手册,该校有1,066名国际学生入学,其中397名来自亚洲。让我们进行一个粗略的计算,如果我们用13%乘以397,就有大约52名学生可能有中国背景。




田纳西大学是否认为这是对华人国际学生和工作人员的一种隔离和不公正对待? 田纳西大学是否考虑了对亚裔学生的社区仇恨可能增加的潜在影响? 有没有办法处理这些潜在的负面影响?


这位成员分享了一段个人经历,为保护隐私,该部分不予显示。 第三个问题是: 田纳西大学是否有可能只在校园内禁止TikTok,而不是列表中的所有中国应用?




然而,目前还不清楚为什么这些特定的应用被选为禁止之列。 大学能否提供更多关于用于确定哪些应用作为社交媒体平台被禁止的标准的信息?


最近禁止某些中国社交媒体平台的政策对一些大学成员群体产生了重大影响。 然而,在实施禁令之前,并未与大学社区进行事先的信息沟通或讨论。






田纳西州议会,州长在2023年4月13日签署了这项法案。 2023年4月14日上午9:10,大学发出邮件通知实施禁令。 2023年5月5日下午3点,举行了一场支持中国社区的听证会。




这种精神源于该地区志愿服务的历史,强调通过服务和领导力回馈社区的重要性。 这种理念不仅包括大学的学生,还包括其教职员工和校友。

作为大学特色的志愿者精神与其技术创新并重,是其身份的决定性因素。 通过他们对回馈的奉献,志愿者们正在改变着不同城市、州、国家乃至世界各地人们的生活。

今天,我们有一些中国学生、教职员工和教师参加了这次会谈。 这些人离开了家园,穿越太平洋来到这里工作和生活。 有些人将在完成学业或工作后离开大学,凭借在这里获得的知识和技能为世界带来变革。 然而,更重要的是大学在成员身上培养的志愿者精神。

现在,大学有机会发挥作用。 大学会抓住这次机会展示其对志愿者精神和领导力的付出,还是会再次让我们的中国同事孤独无援?



SB0843于1月30日提交,旨在禁止向学生、教职员工或公众提供互联网接入的公立高等教育机构允许个人使用该机构的网络访问总部位于美国以外的公司拥有的视频平台。 然后,在3月2日,通过了对该法案的修正案1,将范围具体化为由中华人民共和国境内的公司运营或托管的社交媒体平台。


在州长 Bill Lee 于4月13日签署法案后,田纳西大学信息技术和创新副校长兼首席信息官 Ramon Padilla 代表田纳西大学,于4月14日发送了一封电子邮件,通知田纳西大学系统关于新实施的“TikTok法”。
























此外,作者感谢其他志愿者的帮助,包括但不限于《The Daily Beacon》的及时报道和CGE即将举行的支持中国社区的听证会。



4月18日UT Daily Beacon 对最近中国应用禁令直接受影响的华人群体进行了及时采访。在采访中,由于州法律而失去通讯工具的中国学生,表达了他们对大学缺乏支持的担忧。


4月14日,在州长 Bill Lee 于4月13日签署法律后,Ramon Padilla,首席信息官兼信息技术与创新副校长,代表田纳西大学,向田纳西大学系统发送了一封电子邮件,通知他们关于新实施的“TikTok法”。

4月13日,SB 0834被签署执行

4月13日,州长 Bill Lee 签署了SB0843



1月30日, SB 0834提交

1月30日,参议员 Jon Lundberg 提出 SB0843 以禁止为学生、教职员工或公众提供互联网访问的高等教育公共机构允许个人使用总部位于美国以外的公司拥有的视频平台通过该机构的网络进行访问。

    Enjoy Reading This Article?

    Here are some more articles you might like to read next:

  • Advancing a Decarbonized Power Grid - A Transient Stability Perspective with LTB
  • The Arts I love
  • A Comprehensive Power System Testing Platform - Large-Scale Test Bed in April 2023
  • DiME and AGVis: Distributed Messaging Environment and Geographical Visualizer for CURENT Large-scale Testbed (LTB)