As a U.S. campaign to sever TikTok from its Chinese parent heads to the Senate, analysts say Beijing's response to a forced sale of the app — and its 'secret sauce' algorithm — will be clear: Hands off.

Under new legislation that passed the House of Representatives last week, TikTok could be banned in the United States if it does not cut all ties with Chinese tech giant ByteDance.

But in the battle over TikTok's future in the United States, what strikes many as a contradiction has emerged: Although the company is trying to convince Congress of its independence from Beijing, China has come out swinging in its defense.